As we prepare to head back to school there is a lot to consider. The flood of information, considerations, and decisions can feel paralyzing and has a way of filling us with uncertainty. However, when we look to scripture we can be certain that God is still in control. He is still good. He has prepared us for such a time as this to be a city on a hill and a light to the world around us.
For this reason, we have spent the summer carefully and prayerfully considering our approach to not just education, but SAFE, CHRISTIAN, education. Below is our written plan. We have tried to condense this plan to it's simplest form. This plan was developed in partnership with administration, teachers, the board, and ECA families. We also consulted local authorities, experts, and other private education institutions to share best practices. We will continue to evaluate the situation and for that reason, the plan may change over time as new information and best-practices are released.
Below we address both on-campus and online instructional models. Should you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact the school directly for more information.
On-Campus Instructional Model
Learning occurs in a traditional classroom setting with a teacher on campus. To accommodate all students returning to the classroom in-person, the following are some of the safety measures we anticipate we will put into place:
- Daily health screenings, certified by parents through the ECA Distance Learning Platform (DLP)
- Daily temperature checks before school starts of all students, faculty, and staff
- Frequent hand-washing practices
- Hand sanitizer stations
- Desk, chair, and surface wipe-downs throughout the day
- Ionized air treatment every 90 days
- Specialized filtration in the AC unit to limit the spread of germs
- Reduction in student movement/transitions in buildings
- Physically distancing in classrooms, as feasible
- Acrylic partitions to reduce contact in classrooms
- One-way hallways
- Lower School: Lunch in alternative locations, including classrooms
- Upper School: Lunch will be outside or in small groups spread throughout the campus to provide for 6 feet of physical distancing.
- Use of face shields/masks for both staff and students, as mandated by local authorities to include all passing periods and in situations where 6 feet of physical distancing is not possible.
- Masks will also be required for drop-off, check-in, and pick-up.
- Limited sharing of equipment
- Personal sets of school supplies that are kept with the student
- Multiple entrances and exits to limit congestion
- Students report to class immediately upon arrival--no congregating in the Chapel or Fellowship Hall and no loitering in the halls.
- Limited in-person gatherings and events. Students will be given an option to attend or live-stream in the classroom.
- Chapel may be held outside. Chapel may be held in the Chapel/Youth Room with 6 feet of physical distancing, and masks will be required. Students who are unable to attend chapel in the Chapel/Youth Room due to physical distancing precautions will participate in chapel by live-stream in classrooms
As we begin school together...
Every student, and staff member will receive a Family First Care Kit before the start of the fall semester. Each kit will contain a face mask, hand-sanitizer, thermometer, water bottle and COVID-19 instructional materials to help keep our school community healthy and safe. Additionally, there will be a staff team who will provide masks and hand sanitizer at the entrances of the main school buildings for the first few weeks of the fall semester.
Face coverings (i.e., masks) will be required inside on both campuses and outside on campus when social distancing is not possible this fall. No mandate on type of masks at this time.
Virtual School Model
Students are enrolled in a virtual campus and receive instruction in a completely online environment. This type of instruction may include various forms of digital and online learning, video lessons, or app-based learning tasks that students complete on their own. Some of the design considerations include the following components:
- Students will have an ECA teacher, but the majority of learning and practice will be completed by the student at home, using resources provided by the teacher and the school
- All instruction will be delivered virtually
- Instruction will be delivered by ECA teachers unless enrolled in an Edgenuity option
- Curriculum and resources are specifically designed for a virtual environment and aligned to district expectations / scope and sequence of the curriculum
- Students will be expected to participate in district benchmark assessments and standardized testing to document student learning and growth
- The ECA teacher will communicate daily learning expectations in the district learning management system (Distance Learning Platform and RenWeb)
- Daily progress can be made through student learning plans as defined by the teacher in the learning management system
- Scheduled instruction and interaction will be made available by the teacher
- Students will turn in daily assignments to the teacher through the DLP or through Google Classroom
- Teachers will provide feedback to students and use school grading guidelines on all assignments. Parents and students are encouraged to review these guidelines in the handbook very carefully.
- Attendance will be taken daily to fulfill state requirements
- Learning may be synchronous or asynchronous methods as students follow a specific schedule designed to accommodate the virtual environment
- Cameras and microphones will be set up in classrooms to provide the option for students to stay at home at any point during the year when it might be necessary and still access classroom activities. Recordings of classroom sessions will be available for a maximum of two weeks.
- There will be a dedicated ECA Online Teacher who will help coordinate learning activities from home.
Student attendance policies and accommodations
Over the next several weeks, the office will work to maximize the options for students who are ill, who cannot be on campus or who cannot wear a face covering. Our teachers will make an effort to assure that the courses are offered in classrooms with the technology needed to allow for remote student engagement. It is important to be in contact with your campus principal if your student or family requires specific accommodations.
In case of a COVID diagnosis...
Students who present with COVID-19 within a class
With the masking and social distancing measures we have instituted for the fall, only those in direct contact with a student would be subject to self-quarantine. In other words, classes and academic instruction would be able to safely proceed without interruption. Teachers and staff can be a significant help with contact tracing by having seating charts with students sitting in the same seat for each class session. If a student is diagnosed, those in direct contact with the student will be informed and the class will be moved to another location until all sterilization protocols are met.
Teachers or staff who present with COVID-19
If a staff member presents with symptoms, he or she will immediately leave the premises and a substitute teacher will be placed in the classroom. If a diagnosis of COVID is confirmed, the staff member will go on a mandatory 14 day quarantine (with pay). Any staff member who suspects they have been exposed to COVID should report to the campus principal immediately. Our students and staff are the most important consideration and actions will be taken to mitigate exposures where needed.
School closure due to exposure
ECA will not close school unless the COVID diagnoses hits outbreak status, which is 15 confirmed cases. We will require quarantine on a person-by-person basis and perform sanitization procedures.
School closure and academic calendar
If the school closes due to mandatory enforcement, ECA will go to online schooling for 10 consecutive school days and then go on "Coronacation." Extra days of release will be made up at the end of the school year per the adopted school calendar. If the school closes due to exposure, ECA will be on quarantine for 14 days, with online schooling taking place the duration of the closure. If a mandatory closure occurs within three weeks of a major holiday, at the benefit of families not needing to make up those days during the summer holiday in 2021, we will continue online schooling for that time. Additional extensions to online schooling is at the sole discretion of the Board of Trustees.
Because of the potential for our state to go on mandatory quarantine once again, our education model will rely heavily on technology this school year. The school is equipped to provide technology in the classroom for class use, but students are encouraged to bring a personal iPad or computer to limit sharing of resources. ** PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ECA USER AGREEMENT FOUND IN THE HANDBOOK WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED. **
Benchmark testing, standardized testing, and classroom tests and quizzes are very helpful to inform instruction. It is important that all students, both those enrolled on campus and through virtual classrooms, participate. We request that parents help facilitate testing whenever possible to guarantee the validity of the results. ECA is looking into online testing options for ease of use for all students.
Moving from Online to In-Person Instruction, or In-Person to Online Instruction
We understand that parents are doing their best to make the right personal decisions for their families. Due to the nature of our world, ECA will expect all families to remain in the form of education selected for one month (August 18-September 11). At this time, if an enrolled family wishes to change their form of instruction, the parents should submit a Request for Transition form (found here?) to make that change. Students should expect to stay in their current schooling option through September 18 and begin the other option beginning September 21 to give teachers and administrators time to prepare for the change. Any changes desired after this date can be made at the nine weeks reporting period. A Request to Transition form should be submitted for consideration no later than Oct. 8, Dec. 11, and March 5 respectively for the 9 week grading periods.
Our plan is to only change a section from in-person to online instruction in a situation in which we have exhausted all other possibilities.