Here is what we are planning for so far for the start of the 2020/2021 school year:
- We will be meeting 5-days/week (with the exception of preschool who will follow their normal 2 or 3 day schedule).
- We will start all classes in-person with options for those who are not yet comfortable with the idea of being physically present in school.
- Masks will be optional for students and teachers in most circumstances (some examples of where/when we would wear masks: office workers who are interacting with a student displaying symptoms will wear a mask and ask the student to mask up if there is a temperature at or above 100.4; staff taking temperatures at “drop off”, etc).
- All faculty and staff members will do a COVID-19 screening every day as they enter the building.
- Every student will have his or her temperature checked while remaining in their car at “drop off” in the morning. Any student with a temperature of 100.4 or higher or showing symptoms will not be permitted (along with siblings) to attend school for the day. This will slow things down but is too important to pass over. There will be no exceptions to this policy. We will also share 5 questions each family must be able to answer “No” to before dropping off children for school. We may have more guidance in this area as we continue to look to DHHS for information about when students can return and what symptoms look like.
- We will continue with hand wiping/sanitizing as students enter the building with regular reminders for students to wash their hands well and often.
- Students and teachers will also be wiping down classrooms, door handles, and common use items (think electric pencil sharpeners, shared computers, etc) often and when changing/switching classes. We are working on finding a safe, effective, and affordable way to do this.
- We will have designated spaces in the building to support students who become sick during the school day and need to go home. These students will be asked to wear a mask and remain in that designated area until they have left the building so that we can protect other students and staff.
We are also beginning to work on how we will respond to 2 different scenarios: Direct COVID-19 Exposures and Indirect COVID-19 Exposures. A Direct COVID-19 Exposure is one in which either a student, staff member, faculty, or volunteer was in our building and has had a positive COVID-19 test result. An Indirect COVID-19 Exposure is one in which a student, staff member, faculty, or volunteer has had contact with someone outside of school who has tested positive (a spouse, parent, etc).
DHHS will dictate much of what happens with a Direct COVID-19 Exposure, but we think we will have a few options when the exposure has not been inside our doors. More on that soon.
More than anything, we know that we will have to remain flexible as a community. If we have learned anything from the spring, it’s that things can change rapidly. We must be agile and adaptable while holding tightly to our MZ WAYS statement, “We have love for one another and our school.”
We do not think this is going to be easy. The words ‘crisis’ and ‘pandemic’ imply challenge, hardship, and much more. We do know that God “…is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Eph 3:20, and we are praying and seeking wisdom constantly.
We are happy to share that we have hired a “Remote Learning Coordinator” to support students and teachers who may need to be home because of COVID-19, and we have begun the process of getting more technology in place to keep teachers and students as connected as possible should there be a need to deep clean the school for a day or take short breaks because of COVID-19 positive exposures. We will continue to update you as we learn more and get closer to opening our doors and welcoming students for the 2020-2021 school year.