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Return to School Plan for 2020-2021

Central Maine Christian Academy’s Return to School Plan for 2020-2021

Background

Fulfilling the mission of Central Maine Christian Academy to partner with parents to provide a Biblically faithful, academically excellent education for our students will always be the aim of the CMCA school board and staff. Above all else, we acknowledge that God is sovereign and in control of all things.

God:

  • Is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is present everywhere (Revelation 21:6).
  • Created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16).
  • Knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Romans 11:33).
  • Can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, or impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
  • God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. (Psalm 103:19).

Scripture teaches us that there is both a place for trusting God while putting aside fear, and a place for planning for the safety of people. The story of Nehemiah courageously rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem for the protection of its people incorporates both of these ideas. Nehemiah’s plan provided safety in the daily routines of the workers rebuilding the walls. For the foreseeable future, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to affect our daily school routines. The plan to reopen Central Maine Christian Academy for the 2020-21 school year takes into account both actively planning for our safety and trusting God to act on our behalf. This plan has taken into account the best interest of our staff, students, and families.

The plan includes these three possible learning models:

  1. Normal Learning: All students in the school building.
    1. No community spread; return to normal school routines.
    2. Attendance policies are normal
    3. Grading and academic policies are normal.
  2. Hybrid Learning: Most or many students in the school building.
    1. Minimal to moderate community transmission.
    2. Modified attendance and academic policies.
    3. School-wide social distancing and mitigation strategies in place.
    4. Special safety and sanitizing protocols approved by the health district.
    5. Initial health screenings (for re-entry) and routine health screenings (as needed).
    6. Concentrates on students in school but provides flexibility for homebound students, using Google classroom.
  3. Distance Learning: No students permitted in the school building.
    1. Substantial community transmission.
    2. Attendance and academic policies highly modified.
    3. All schooling via distance learning model, using Google classroom

The mission to provide a Christ-centered academic experience for Christian families at Central Maine Christian Academy is best reached when teachers and students come together on campus and in classrooms. However, until the COVID-19 pandemic has abated, an open school building requires special precautions and protocols in order to safeguard the health and well-being of our students, families, and staff. For the safety of students and staff, and depending on conditions and guidance from coordinating agencies, we may also need to resort to a distance learning model.

With these principles in mind, the following plan represents the mitigation strategies that CMCA will have in place when students return to school. This plan is not exhaustive and does not address every aspect of the school day, and is based on the guidelines set up by Gov. Mills and the Maine Department of Education for safely reopening all schools in Maine. This plan may change as the governor and the Maine Dept. of Education evaluate positive or negative changes to the outbreak. While the school will ask for the cooperation of all students and families, there can be no guarantees that complete mitigation of risk will take place. For this reason, parents and staff are asked to sign and return the attached COVID-19 waiver. The virus does not seem to be going away any time soon, so this is CMCA’s plan to continue the vital work of Christian education in an environment that recognizes the real need for precautions. While this plan is akin to Nehemiah acknowledging the need for a wall and plans for rebuilding it, we also trust as Nehemiah did that, “The God of heaven will give us success.” Thank you for your patience and your prayers as we persevere through this unprecedented challenge.

More than anything, our desire is to ensure the health and safety of every individual who enters our building. This desire is driven by a love for our students, school families, and staff. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment in the Law was, He answered in Matthew 22:37-39, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Loving our neighbors during a global pandemic means we will have to do things differently. Keeping our distance from one another, limiting visitors in the building, even wearing masks as needed – all of these are extraordinary actions that show love, care, and compassion for our neighbors. Our desire is to demonstrate that love in all that we do in the coming year.

As we look ahead to opening school, and because there are still active cases of COVID-19 in our state, we will be following the hybrid learning model, as outlined above. For this reason, the following social distancing and mitigation strategies will be in place:

School Day Changes of Schedule and Hours
A modified schedule will be used during the hybrid learning model. Live classroom instruction will take place from Monday through Thursday. Students in daycare, preschool, and grades K-8 are to be dropped off between 7:30-7:45 AM. Students in the high school need to arrive between 7:45 -7:55 AM. Preschool and grades K through high school will dismiss at 2:00 PM, with daycare and aftercare programs closing at 4:00 PM. These shortened times will allow for additional cleaning time and needed staff time for any posting of Google classroom information.

Drop-off and Pick-up Areas
School doors will open for the supervision of students 15 minutes before the start of class, with parents requested to drop off their child, as much as possible, without entering the school building, except for daycare, preschool, and kindergarten students the first week of school. Likewise, we are asking that all students leave the campus within 10 minutes of the end of the day. One of the great community opportunities for parents is student pick-up and drop off time. It is an opportunity to see other parents and students and connect with a teacher. However, to limit the number of people in the building, until the coronavirus outbreak passes, parents and visitors will need to remain outside of the building while their child enters the building or comes out to them, unless previous arrangements are made with the staff.

Multiple doors will be used to control crowding during drop-off and pick-up times. Signs will indicate which door students will be asked to use. Teachers at each grade level will be posted at the respective doors to welcome students, or to help them leave the building. Daycare and preschool students will enter and exit through the side emergency exit that is adjacent to their classrooms. Kindergarten and first graders will enter and exit through the door that is located to the left of the building as parents drive into the parking lot, near the playground with the castle. Students in the second and third grades, as well as sixth through twelfth grades, will enter and exit through the front doors. Students in grades four and five will enter through the door at the right side of the building, near the dumpster. Upon arrival, students are to go directly to their classrooms without stopping at lockers. They will be dismissed to go to their lockers in small supervised groups at a time when all have arrived. In an effort to control the spread of the virus and decrease the amount of people in the building, parents are asked not to enter the building, but to walk over to the appropriate door to drop off or pick up their child, waiting outside the school building, and following social distancing guidelines.

SCREENING

All students, faculty, staff, and volunteers must self-screen, with the help of parents or a caregiver, when appropriate, before leaving home each school day for the following symptoms. A person shall not come to school under any circumstances if he/she or other members in the family display any one of the following:

  • A body temperature of 100* or higher any time in the previous 24 hours.
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
or, any two of the following:
  • Body ache
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose or congestion
Any person determined by a staff person to meet these criteria during the school day will be immediately sent home or placed in a designated isolation area at school until they are taken home. It is required that parents make immediate arrangements for the pick-up of a child presenting any of these symptoms. This is a non-negotiable aspect of being part of the CMCA school community. While this is a best practice at all times, it is especially vital during this coronavirus outbreak.

RETURN TO SCHOOL

Students and staff may return to school after displaying symptoms if they meet the following:

Untested – Not otherwise explained; all three must be met:

  • At least 10 calendar days after symptoms first appeared
  • Fever free for 72 hours (three full days, no fever without medication)
  • Other symptoms have improved

Tested positive – Either Symptomatic or Asymptomatic

  • At least 10 calendar days after symptoms first appeared, AND
  • Fever free for 72 hours (three full days, no fever without medication), AND
  • Other symptoms have improved OR
  • Two negative tests at least 24 hours apart

Tested negative – Symptomatic

  • Fever free for 72 hours (three full days, no fever without medication), AND
  • other symptoms have improved. While waiting at home, the student will be provided schoolwork via Google classroom/distance learning opportunities which, when completed, will count as being marked Present for school. The waiting period will not count against attendance records if the student engages in the remote learning/Google classroom.

PROCEDURE FOR POSITIVE OR SUSPECTED COVID-19 CASE

The following procedure is to be used if a CMCA student or employee is identified as COVID-19 positive or suspected positive.

 * ACTION ITEM *

  • Student or employee is respectfully asked to isolate in the designated area.
  • For students, parents or legal guardians will be called for pickup
  • For employees, the staff will coordinate with school leadership to manage follow-up effects.
  • Student or employee will be provided appropriate personal protection equipment and any employee interacting with the confirmed or suspected case will be provided with a mask and gloves.

 * ACTION ITEM *

  • Staff provides list of potential exposures (employees and students).
  • Staff will coordinate (as appropriate) with parents/legal guardians of the student or directly with the employee to build a list of potential exposures.

 * ACTION ITEM *

  • School leadership decides on the length of the short-term closure.
  • School leadership will provide Public Health Officewith appropriate details and exposure information.
  • School leadership will coordinate the closure decision with Public Health Office

 * ACTION ITEM *

  • School leadership communicates appropriate details to the school community.
  • School leadership will update the school community (parents/guardians) via communications system (email/text/voice) with appropriate incident details.

 * ACTION ITEM *

  • CMCA transitions to distance learning model/Google classroom for the closure period.
Social Distancing and Classroom

CONSIDERATIONS

All classrooms will practice these guidelines:

  • Following the Maine Department of Education and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, student seating will be placed up to 6’ apart but no less than 3’ apart.
  • All desks will face the same direction. Seating will not be arranged to form tables in which students face each other, and other tables will not be used in the classroom.
  • Sharing of supplies among students will be avoided.
  • Six feet of distancing between adults will be maintained when at all possible. The nature of the teacher to student relationship makes absolute adherence to this impractical, and perhaps undesirable. However, teachers will use common sense when applying distancing practices between themselves and their students.
    Students will be encouraged to maintain distancing at appropriate times.
  • Hallways will be one-directional.
  • Classrooms will provide for the exchange of air, leaving windows and doors open and having fans to help with bringing fresh air into the classroom.
  • In order to support classroom staff and to prepare students for the possibility of using Google classroom for their distance learning model for learning at home, if ever needed, some classes at school will be taught through streaming and online courses, with in-class staff supervising these courses.

HAND HYGIENE

Regular hand washing and sanitizing are among the most effective ways to control viral spread. Students will have regular access to soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. They will also be asked to bring their own hand sanitizer to school as part of their school supplies. Students will be encouraged to use the sanitizers regularly.

  • Students will be expected to wash their hands before and after lunch, before and after recess, and after using the restroom.
  • Everyone will be asked to sanitize hands when exiting or entering a new classroom/instructional space within the school, and before and after going to lockers and restrooms.
  • Instruction and reminders on hand washing will be provided by the staff.
  • Parents are also asked to teach their children proper hand washing technique

FACE COVERINGS

The Maine Department of Education strongly recommends that staff and students wear a facial mask. There are recommendations from other organizations that span everything in between, and these recommendations continue to change, as more information about the spread of COVID-19 becomes available. For the time being, we ask that all students bring a fresh, clean mask with them to school each day. But it is also understood that some students are extremely uncomfortable with the wearing of face masks, or have health conditions that prohibit them from doing so. It is our intent that no one is made to feel uncomfortable because they decided to wear or not to wear a face covering.

CMCA staff, students, and family members are asked to honor the Lord, and show His love to others concerning the decisions of other people in the CMCA school family. Parents are asked to counsel their children concerning this request to show His love to others in this way. The following is being recommended because of the Maine Dept. of Education guidelines and in accordance with our intention to balance the best possible educational environment with the safest, healthiest working environment:

  • All staff members and adults/visitors entering the school will need to wear a face mask or shield.
  • Students will wear face masks in and outside the classroom setting when social distancing isn’t possible.
  • Because the nature of arrival and dismissal times limits the ability to maintain social distancing, especially with those outside of students’ classrooms, masks will be worn as students arrive and are dismissed.
  • Masks will be worn as students travel through the hallways to other classrooms, going to their lockers, and when traveling to the restrooms, when social distancing is also limited. On the rare occasion of a gathering in the classroom when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks will be recommended for the duration of that activity.

CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PRACTICES

The CMCA staff is removing “soft surfaces” from classrooms (e.g., cloth upholstered chairs, small area rugs, etc.) for the 2020-21 school year that cannot easily be wiped down, cleaned, and disinfected. Each classroom will also establish a routine for limiting the use of shared materials and for wiping down spaces and equipment. For this reason, each student is asked to bring 2 packages of Clorox wipes in their school supplies. Practices will vary across classrooms and age groups but will include such areas and equipment as:
•

  • Daycare, PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st-3rd grade
    • Students and teachers wiping down blocks, desks, and tables.o Eliminating shared classroom teddy bear/stuffed animals.o Ensuring students have their own crayons, markers, writing instruments in their own desks/containers rather than shared bins.
  • 4th grade and up
    • Students and teachers wiping down shared spaces within the classroom.
    • Assigning classroom textbooks to each student rather than allow general classroom use.
    • Ensuring students have their own crayons, markers, writing instruments rather than shared bins.
    • Creating a 2-3 minute gap at the end of the instructional period for students to wipe down desk surfaces and chairs before they change to another classroom.

Cleaning personnel will disinfect high touch surfaces in the school and clean the school’s restrooms at least twice daily. Any classroom or space used by a student or staff member who directly contracts COVID-19 will be closed and returned to service only after it has been cleaned and disinfected utilizing EPA approved products that meet CDC guidelines for COVID-19.

DRINKING FOUNTAINS AND WATER BOTTLES

Students should plan to bring at least 2 water bottles to school. Drinking fountains in the building will be turned off to avoid the potential spread of the virus.

CHAPEL, CHORUS, PHYSICAL EDUCATION, AND RECESS/PLAYGROUND ACTIVITIES

Chapel will be done in each classroom as a part of the Bible curriculum or in video/on-line format. Because of this, and to reduce the travel of students going to change in the restrooms afterwards, students will not be required to wear Chapel clothes until further notice. Chorus will be put on hold, while physical education will be based on individual fitness activities instead of group activities. Students will use their hand sanitizer before and after recess, and after using playground equipment. Social distancing activities will be encouraged on the playground during recess time.

SNACK AND LUNCH BREAKS

Students will need to bring snacks and lunches from home. To further control the spread of the virus, the senior snack program and Sam’s lunches will be discontinued until further notice. Outdoor spaces will be used for lunch times as much as possible. If snack breaks and lunches are eaten in classrooms, desks will be washed before and after eating.

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL AND SCHOOL SPORTS ACTIVITIES

Students will still work on their country and state projects, using a format determined by their teachers, with the International Festival being postponed until a later date, if needed. Concerning our sports programs, CMCA will abide by the recommendations of the Christian School Sports League, the organization that our school belongs to for our soccer and basketball programs.

ACCEPTANCE OF THE REOPENING PLAN AND NEW PROCEDURES FOR STUDENTS, FAMILIES, AND STAFF

As a member of the Association of Christian Schools International, we have been advised by their legal team to have an acknowledgement form and waiver signed by each family or staff member. Families and staff members are asked to review the above reopening plan carefully and prayerfully, and then sign the attached COVID-19 acceptance and waiver before returning to school. Thank you again for your understanding, Christ-like love, prayers, and patience during these uncertain and changing times. Praise the Lord that He is in control of all of it!

Acknowledgement of Central Maine Christian Academy’s Reopening Plan for 2020-21
and COVID-19 Waiver

The Central Maine Christian Academy (CMCA) is planning to resume its face-to-face instructional program for the 2020-2021 academic year. Highest priority is being placed on the health and safety of all, so school will resume with some changes in place in the face of COVID-19 to assure, to the extent possible, that students and staff may safely attend.
Upon your review of these efforts, it is requested your acknowledgment that your child (or you, if 18 years old or older) attends the CMCA voluntarily and with the understanding that, notwithstanding best efforts, the school board and staff cannot guarantee that the school will remain free of virus or that you or your child will not contact this virus or any other infection at the school. It is also asked that you acknowledge that subsequent events, such as a secondary resurgence of cases or a renewed shelter-in-place order, may require CMCA to suspend its face-to-face instructional program. In that case, CMCA may continue its instructional program virtually, if at all possible.
 CMCA will make reasonable efforts to follow appropriate guidelines for schools issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maine Dept.of Public Health, and other applicable authorities, including guidelines from the Maine Dept. of Education. Based upon the applicable mandates and appropriate guidelines, CMCA intends to implement the following prevention and mitigation efforts, assuming no intervening events that would supersede them.

Personal Prevention and Social Distancing

Parents and students will self check before coming to school, following the guidelines as outlined in the school reopening plan. Upon entering school, anyone with a temperature over 100* will be isolated, sent home, and will not be permitted to return until following the return to school guidelines. CMCA will cooperate with the Maine Dept. of Public Health to engage in confidential contact tracing and reporting to minimize spread of the virus.

To the extent possible, hand washing, hand sanitizing, and cleaning procedures will be followed as outlined in the return to school plan.
Cloth face coverings will be encouraged for all faculty, staff, and visitors, and all students, as outlined.

Classrooms will be set up to maximize personal distance, with desks up to 6’ apart and not less than 3’, depending on the age group.

COVID-19 Waiver

In consideration of myself , a staff member, or parent, and my child/student participating in the programs provided by Central Maine Christian Academy, I/we, and any legal representatives, heirs and assigns, hereby release, waive, and discharge Central Maine Christian Academy, its officers, directors, employees, and representatives from any and all liability for any and all loss or damage, and any claim or damages resulting from, on account of any injury, illness or exposure to and/or contracting the corona virus (COVID-19) or other biological agents, virus or similar bacteriological agent by me, a staff member, or by me, a parent, or my child/student in attendance at and participation in CMCA’s programs, including any medical expenses, injury and/or loss of life.

Acknowledged this _____ day of ____________, 2020, by ____________________, parent or legal guardian of

_____________________________________________________ student(s)

or staff member’s name:____________________________ Date:__________________

Signature: ________________________________________

Print name: _______________________________________

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