Kindergarten and First Grade Reopening Plan

Dear Christ Lutheran Family,  

I applaud what both families and teachers have been doing these past few weeks with our online classrooms. You have gone above and beyond in your efforts. As I visit classrooms every day and watch while teachers are helping students on Zoom, it is wonderful to see students’ growth from the beginning of the year up to now. However, I believe that we can all agree that the best place for students is to be in a classroom physically with their teacher and we are working diligently toward that goal. Thus, starting on Thursday, November 12th we will be bringing our kindergarten and first-grade students back to campus for a modified schedule. As we bring these students back to campus, we will not be requiring students to be in school uniforms but instead ask that students follow the normal free dress guidelines.

In the middle of September, LA County began a program to bring students back to campus that were defined as high-need or students for whom distance learning was not working. Schools could do this as long as students were placed in cohorts of no more than twelve, and the total number of students brought back to campus was no more than 10% of the regular student population. Since starting this program, the county health department has not been able to trace an uptick in COVID-19 cases to this program and more than 900 schools have taken part. Because of this, last week, the county decided to expand this program to allow for schools to bring back these students as long as it was not more than 25% of the regular student population with the same twelve person cohort requirement. This 25% will allow us to bring our youngest learners (kindergarten and first-grade) back to campus because distance learning has been extremely challenging for this group of students. Kindergarten would be allowed back in two cohorts, and first-grade in one cohort, without waiting for our waiver request to be approved.    

Preparations for school re-opening have been ongoing since the spring, and re-opening the school to all of our students is something we discuss often and something we eagerly anticipate. With the county expanding this program last week we were able to officially put a day on the calendar for coming back for this group of students. With this being the first group of students to come back, we wanted to take some extra time to be in communication between our Board of Christian Education, administration, and teachers in order to finalize our re-opening protocols to make sure that we were being as safe as we possibly can be for students and staff. I have included the re-opening protocols for kindergarten and first-grade with this email so that you can have a better idea of the plans that Christ Lutheran has put into place in order to keep both students and staff safe during this time. Of course, if you have a kindergartener or a first-grader and still feel uncomfortable sending your student back to campus on the 12th, please let me know and we will talk about your student remaining online. Once we are allowed to bring more students back onto campus, the protocols will change slightly to reflect the needs of having more students, and more cohorts of students, on campus at that time.

To give Ms. Soon and Ms. Bebich time to prepare their classrooms physically for the students to return, kindergarten and first grade ONLY will have Monday, November 9th and Tuesday, November 10th off from school. The rest of the school will continue with online classrooms as normal. Wednesday, November 11th, the whole school will have off because of Veteran’s Day and then we will begin with in-person instruction for kindergarten and first-grade on Thursday, November 12th. While we have tried to be thoughtful as we put together our plans, the first few days there may be some hiccups as we adjust to the new schedule. We thank you for your patience and grace.

We praise God for this movement toward having some students on campus and look forward to the day when we can expand our ability to serve all of the students of Christ Lutheran on campus. We thank you for your prayers and your continued support as we navigate this season together.

In His Service, 
Mr. Ferguson

 

 

Kindergarten and First-Grade Re-Opening Protocols

 

Christ Lutheran School

28850 S. Western Ave

Rancho Palos Verde, CA 90275

 

COVID-19 Compliance Team

Scott Ferguson, Principal (Liaison to DPH)

Tammy Ruano, Preschool Director

Anna Maggio, SAC Director

Samantha Fulton, Public Relations

Michelle Dorling, Administrative Assistant

 

Arrival and Dismissal of Students

 

Arrival

Parents should monitor students for signs of illness before bringing them to school in the morning. Students who show signs of COVID-19 should not come to school and should:

                Seek advice from personal medical provider whether to take a COVID-19 test.

                Follow the medical provider’s suggestions which may include:

                                Staying home until receiving a negative test response OR

                                Staying home and isolating using CDC Guidelines.

If a student is kept home for the day because of an illness with non-COVID-19 related symptoms, we ask that you communicate with the office regarding the nature of the illness. We will work with you to determine if a COVID-19 test or a note from a physician is necessary for the child to return to school. We understand that this may be an inconvenience but we thank you in advance for working with us to make sure that all of the students and staff are kept safe. 

Parents will park and come up with students to the narthex. Drop off time will be between 8.15am-8.30am.

Parents and students should wear cloth face coverings and should remain socially distanced from others at the entrance area. Children ages two and under are not required to wear face coverings. Parents will be asked screening questions and the temperature of the student will be taken. The following steps will then be taken:

  1. If the screening indicates no symptoms and exposure for the child and the child’s temperature is less than 100.4 the child will be cleared to enter the school building. Students will sanitize their hands and proceed to their classroom.
  2. If the screening identifies one or more symptoms or possible exposure and/or the temperature of the child is greater than 100.4 the child will be sent home. Parents will be instructed to contact personal medical provider for further evaluation.

 

Dismissal

Students should be picked up between 12.30pm – 1.00pm from the narthex area.

Staff Members

                Staff members should stay home if they show any symptoms of COVID-19.

Staff members will answer daily health questions and complete a temperature check upon arrival.

Staff members who develop signs of illness during the school day will be isolated and asked to seek medical care and go home.

 

Staff/students who become sick or are exposed to COVID-19

Signs/symptoms of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC include:

                                Fever or chills

                                Cough

                                Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

                                Fatigue

                                Muscle or body aches

                                Headache

                                New loss of taste or smell

                                Sore throat

                                Congestion or runny nose

                                Nausea or vomiting

                                Diarrhea

 

Students or staff members who demonstrate symptoms of illness while on campus will be escorted to the isolation room where they will remain and be monitored until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility. If the signs/symptoms are severe, the school will call 9-1-1 immediately and notify family members.

Students and staff members who have been sent home or to a healthcare facility due to illness must:

                Obtain a COVID-19 test AND

                Stay home until receiving a negative response OR

                Stay home and isolate using CDC guidelines.

Students and/or staff members who test positive for COVID-19:

                Follow CDC guidelines for home isolation.

                Alert Mr. Ferguson.

Possibly expect a follow up call from the Health Department

                May seek advice from personal doctor about the need for a second COVID-19 test.

May return to school/work ten days from the symptom onset/after the first positive test (unless symptoms continue).

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school will:

                Maintain staff/student confidentiality.

Report the illness to the LA County Health Department and follow the department’s guidance for next steps, including but not limited to:

Asking the person affected to identify all individuals who have been in close contact with the person for two days prior to the onset of symptoms to the present.

Report the illness to all impacted Christ Lutheran families while maintaining confidentiality.

Contact staff and students in close contact with the individual regarding next steps.

Enforce anti-harassment and discrimination policies.

Temporarily close rooms used by individual with COVID-19 for disinfection.

Implement distance learning measures for students who are isolating at home.

Advise staff members regarding sick leave, telework, disability, and family leave options.

If there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on campus during a fourteen day period, the school will assess whether the two cases have epidemiological links.

                If no links exist, the school will continue with routine COVID-19 monitoring.

If links do exist, the school will reinforce messages with students and staff about precautionary measures to prevent spread.

If there are three or more COVID-19 cases during a fourteen day period, the school will:

                Determine if cases have epidemiological links.

                If links do exist, report the cluster to the Health Department within one business day.

                Complete the required reports for cases and contacts.

                Follow Health Department’s guidance for next steps.

School Closure

Recommendations for school closures are determined by the local health officer based on the numbers of cases and percentage of teacher/students/staff that have tested positive for COVID-19.

Should the school be forced to close to in-person instruction, students will resume distance learning. It is important for each family to have a child care plan in place should their child(ren)’s grade level cohort need to switch to fully remote learning for a period of cleaning or quarantine.

Close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19

“Close contact” is defined by the CDC as “someone who was within six feet of an infected person for at least fifteen minutes starting from forty-eight hours before illness onset”. In the school setting, this will likely mean a student’s grade-level classmates and teacher, but could include others.

Students and staff members who have been in close contact with a person who tests positive must:

                Stay home and obtain a COVID-19 test whether or not they have symptoms AND

If negative, stay home and isolate for fourteen days from the last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19.

If positive, the school will follow the steps listed above.

Resume online learning for the time period of quarantine.

                Possibly expect a follow-up call from the Health Department.

Promoting healthy hygiene practices

                All classrooms are equipped with hand sanitizer stations.

                Bathroom breaks will be built into daily schedules/routines to reduce student crossover.

                Staff will instruct students on proper handwashing protocols.

All staff and students will wash and sanitize their hands including, but not limited to, the following times:

                                Upon arrival to campus

                                After playing outside

                                Before using a shared surface

                                Before and after using the restroom

                                After blowing nose, coughing or sneezing

                                Before eating

                All staff and students should use a tissue to cover toilet handles for flushing.

 

Intensified cleaning and disinfection. Christ Lutheran will have cleaning staff on campus during the day to help with the sanitizing of shared spaces.

                The following surfaces will be disinfected between shared uses:

                                Desks or tables

Door handles

Bottle filling stations

                                Countertops

                                Chairs

                                Keyboards

                The following surfaces will be sanitized daily

                                Handrails

                                Restroom surfaces

                                Light switches

                                Classroom phones

                                Classroom surfaces

               

In the event of a reported cases of COVID-19 on campus:

                                The room will be closed for twenty-four hours before cleaning when possible.

All windows and doors will be opened for ventilation during the twenty-four hour period.

Physical distancing of staff and students

                In the classroom:

                Student desks will be six feet away from each other and teacher desks.

Extra furniture and tables have been removed from the classroom to allow as much physical distancing of desks as feasible.

Students will remain at desks as much as possible. If they require assistance, teachers will come to them.

Teachers will modify student movement, to and from classrooms and other spaces within classrooms to promote physical distancing.

Outdoors:

                Teachers may utilize outdoor space for learning when it is practical to do so.

                Playground activities will be modified to promote physical distancing.

Students will eat snacks physically distanced outside with their grade level. Snack time will be staggered to allow for physical distancing between grade levels.

Student groups will be assigned to different areas of the playground so that student cohorts do not mix.

Large group gatherings will be held remotely or outside and/or divided into smaller groups to promote physical distancing.

Face coverings

Cloth face coverings are required (with some medical exceptions) for all persons over the age of two in LA County. We acknowledge that it may be difficult for children and staff to wear cloth face coverings all day. Balancing all these realities will be our challenge to navigate together.

School faculty and staff will wear cloth face coverings while in the presence of students or when physical distancing from other faculty/staff members is not possible. In some cases, teachers may use face shields with tucked-in bottom drapes, especially when it is important for students to see teacher faces (i.e. when teaching phonological concepts, etc.) The school will provide face coverings, but staff members may also provide their own. Staff members will wash or replace their face coverings daily.

All students should plan to bring two clean cloth face coverings with them each day.

The school will also provide disposable masks if students forget theirs at home.

Students will wear face coverings when inside, or moving from room-to-room on campus. Students will not be required to wear face coverings when playing physically-distanced outside, when eating/drinking or when napping.

Parents may request that their student wear face coverings at all times (except when eating/drinking) no matter what mandates are in place, and staff members will encourage those students to comply.

Students and staff should follow CDC guidelines for safe wearing and sanitizing of face coverings, including washing face coverings daily.

Hydration and snacks.

Students should bring a refillable water bottle each day. Drinking fountains will be closed, but water bottle filling stations will be available throughout the day.

                Students can bring snacks in a lunch/snack container as usual.

                Students should not handle each other’s containers.

                Students may not share snacks.

                Students will be physically distanced from others outside with their grade level classmates.

Ventilation of classrooms

                All classroom air filters were changed this summer.

                All classrooms will have fans placed near doorways to maximize air flow and exchange.

                All classrooms will have air purifiers. 

                Classroom doors and windows will be open whenever possible.

Visitors

Visits to the school by individuals other than staff and students are avoided whenever possible. Parents of enrolled students are encouraged to conduct business with school personnel remotely when possible. When it is not possible to do so remotely, please make an appointment with the appropriate staff member first before coming to campus.

Visitors to campus must be free from COVID-19 symptoms and wear a mask (ages two and up) at all times.                

Visitors should enter via the narthex where their temperature will be taken, and then proceed to the school office for check-in.

                Visitors should sanitize their hands upon entering the school office.

Visitors should sign the visitor log that includes a visitor’s name, phone number, and email address.

Final thoughts

Returning to school involves moving forward in faith and acknowledging that there is some risk as soon as we leave the safety of our homes. No place of business, worship, or education can guarantee 100% protection from COVID-19. But we can all do our part to minimize those risks and the spread of the disease.

The Christ Lutheran staff will do its best to keep kids safe at school, but we also know that kids are kids: masks are going to get dirty or fall off, kids are going to forget that they shouldn’t give a high-five to their friend, and some kids will wash their hands for less than the recommended twenty seconds. In fact, we are sure you have seen some of these same behaviors in your own home. Our goal is to promote and encourage the best and safest behavior possible in the school setting.

The pandemic is a season and while life may never return to what it once was, we will get through this season together. Treating each other with patience, love, and compassion is what we do best at Christ Lutheran!

Face coverings appear to be among the most divisive issues of this pandemic. We recognize that there are passionate opinions on both sides. Our goal is to obey the guidelines as well as to do what’s best for students and staff in light of the science of COVID-19 and developmentally appropriate best practices for children. We also believe face coverings (and physical distancing) can represent an opportunity to put feet on our faith and love our neighbors.

You can help your child ease into these new protocols and procedures by presenting them in a positive light and giving your child a chance to talk through and practice them.

Unfortunately, during this pandemic season getting sick with even a simple cold is going to be disruptive to your schedule and your child’s education. You can help prevent this disruption by:

                                Maintaining good sanitation and hygiene practices in your home.

                                Limiting your family’s contact with others.

                                Avoiding travel to areas with high infection rates.

                                Wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing in public.

                                Getting a flu shot.

Finally, and most importantly, a reminder from God’s Word:

                                “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

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