The Path Back to Campus (part four)
On Monday, June 1, Maranatha staff reported to work after hosting a Drive-in Commencement Ceremony on the last day of the 2019-2020 school year. The world-wide pandemic was in full swing and the word pivot became a common part of the educational vernacular. The COVID-19 crisis has caused people all around the world to rethink everything from professional sports to travel to family-run businesses. This invisible and mysterious virus has not only infected family and friends, but it has also afflicted society as a whole.
Fast forward to the present and we find some amazing things happening amid crisis, especially here at Maranatha Christian Academy. The lack of on-campus classes in the last quarter of the year caused many to realize just how vital in-person learning is to our most prized possessions…our kids. Because Maranatha was able to reimagine and refocus, we were able to reunite back on-campus for an incredible experience the first quarter of the 2020-2021 school year, despite the many obstacles and challenges facing us daily.
Congratulations to YOU, our Maranatha family for helping to make this happen.
But there is more work to do. We will all need to be ultra-focused on the little things, continue to walk in love and understanding, and do the right thing…all of the time.
This new way of living being thrust upon us has been a challenging and draining experience for many, if not all, of us. We have endured isolation, quarantines, limited gatherings, and, of course, masks. Unfortunately, while there have been strides toward a global solution, there still are many unknowns and no vaccine. As we continue to navigate ambiguity, COVID Fatigue can set in.
As you know Maranatha has instituted many safety protocols to remain on campus for in-person learning. To be successful, diligent participation from our students, families, and staff is essential, even though it may feel as though things are more “normal” since we are back in school. What does this look like?
Prior to arrival at school:
- Make sure your student is feeling well and not showing any of the symptoms related to COVID.
- If so, please keep the student home and contact your health professional
- If possible, It is good practice to do a temperature check prior to leaving
While at school
- Always be wearing a mask and wear it properly
- Work to maintain social distance when possible
- Avoid handshakes, hugs, etc.
- Wash hands regularly throughout the day
- Use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the day
- Even at home, wipe down surfaces regularly
- Make sure to take care of yourself by eating healthy and getting enough sleep
- Avoid gatherings where you may be exposed to someone who could test positive
- If you attend a gathering of any kind, please use wisdom by keeping as much distance as possible from others, washing hands regularly, even wearing a mask if possible.
During the first quarter of the school year, Maranatha was able to maintain its sky-high level of academics, build a strong Kingdom Culture, and continue to create community even when presented with the COVID challenges on a daily basis. To make this happen, the school has embraced exploration, led with empathy, and found innovative solutions. Yet, through it all, we have experienced the effects of COVID, including students and staff having tested positive. Although many of these cases were found to have been contracted outside of the school, the impact is still real within the walls of Maranatha. We are aware that there is a long way to go on this journey together. Along the way, finding the freedom to learn in a safe environment is a priority.
What is Maranatha doing when a student or staff is found to have tested positive?
- The individual is asked to self-isolate for 10 days from his or her first symptom AND stay in isolation until symptoms improved AND he or she had no fever above 100.4.
- Close contacts (people who were within six feet of positive tested individual for more than 15 minutes) are contacted and asked to quarantine for 14 days. If he or she decides to get tested and receives a negative test, they are allowed back to school prior to the 14 day period.
- The entire pod is notified that a positive case was reported within the pod.
- Because Maranatha is keeping students in grade-level pods, the risk of exposure and/or being a close contact is drastically reduced. Pods are by grade for pre-kindergarten through Grade 6. Grades 7 & 8 are a pod. And Grades 9-12 are a pod.
What if there is a spike in cases within a pod, or throughout the school?
- Maranatha has determined that when the number of positive cases in a pod at one time reaches 10% of the pod, a meeting with the Executive Team will occur to determine next steps.
- Due to the large size of the Grade 9-12 pod, this discussion will take place at the 5% mark
- Should the Executive Team see a spike in cases, there is a high probability the afflicted pod will be asked to quarantine for 14 days and move to a virtual learning platform.
- A communication from the principal will be sent home.
- Please be aware that, while it is our desire to provide ample time to make plans, this will most likely happen in a very minimal amount of time. We ask for your assistance to provide the best learning experience possible.
How do Maranatha families know the current situation?
- Once we receive communication regarding a positive case the principal/nurse will reach out to the student to inform them of their next steps.
- An email is sent to the grade-level pod making them aware of a positive case in their pod
- Any close contacts are informed directly and asked to take the next steps.
- If you do not receive a communication from the school about being a close contact, then your child, as far as we can tell, would not have been in close contact with the positive-tested individual. Of course, there is no way to guarantee this, as we can only backward trace based on the information we are given.
Glossary of Terms
The following terms are used throughout our return-to-school plans and within our safety and health protocols.