COVID-19 Response

March 9, 2020
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The following emails were sent to KCS families on behalf of Dr. Julie Giardino, Head of School in response to COVID-19.

Email sent 6/10/2020
Subject: Information on 202-2021 Re-Opening Plans

Dear Charger Families,

I hope you are having an enjoyable release into summer! It is so rewarding to get out into the sunshine and play for a while.

My last communication promised more information about the start of school. I want to give you basic information for your planning purposes and to relieve some of the questions that are still rising. I know all of us have ideas about school resuming in the Fall and how it will look. I am sure we all realize that some of the structures that surround decision making in this environment are still forming or re-forming as we go day to day. Please understand that plans are still evolving and fully vetted detail is not yet ready for publication due to the impact of several agencies: the Governor’s Office, Indiana State Board of Education, CDC, Hendricks County Health Department, the KCS School Board, our school attorney and our insurance company risk management team. I am actively monitoring the daily updates and any new information I discover. Please bear with me as changes may occur that are beyond my control.

I am going to take this opportunity to share part of the KCS plan and how we expect to go forward. This communication will not fully reveal our total plan and it will not attempt to answer every question you may have. This is for your planning purposes only. More information will be shared in future updates.

Here is what can be shared at this juncture:

KCS intends to open on July 30 for all grades K-8, and August 3 for PreK.

KCS intends to have a familiar on-site, full day programming structure, five days per week. This includes athletics, Before and After Care, and Specials courses.

KCS intends to restructure processes in a variety of areas. For example, the morning entry process will occur from 4 doors. Door 12 for Kindergarten families, Door 5 for guests and preschool only, Door 6 (beside the playground) for first through fifth grades, and Door 4 (Rec Center) for sixth through eighth grades. This prevents crowding at entry and exit times. It also allows us to keep the familiar carline structure. I will be addressing other processes in future communications. Our team is still in process refining individual classroom contexts.

KCS intends to postpone field trips until second quarter. More information will be sent when we have better clarity about the cleaning processes and safety features of each field trip destination.

KCS intends to reschedule or modify large group events that regularly occur in the fall. For example, Grandparents Day will be rescheduled to the spring. More information will be available in future communications.

KCS intends to address the decision about wearing face coverings at school as additional information develops. Our desire is to offer a safe learning environment that does not require wearing of face coverings but encourages them for those who need to or choose to wear them. For now, please take this opportunity to consult your family pediatrician for advice on whether a face covering is necessary or desirable for your child. If a face covering is needed please request your doctor’s training on how to wear it, how to clean it, and how to know when it should be worn. I will address this issue more completely when more specific guidance is provided about the advantages and disadvantages of face coverings for children.

KCS intends to comply with executive orders and safety and health guidelines as they apply to our context. We are improving our resources for a vibrant eLearning plan and will be prepared to utilize eLearning plan should changes to our plans become necessary.

I realize this communication will bring many questions to mind. Answers to those questions are dependent on context and will be answered when I have a good sense of specific direction. I promise to keep you informed and to listen to your concerns as they arise. You can reach me at should you have immediate needs.

Thank you for putting your love, trust, and prayer into the Charger family. It is a great blessing to see so many dedicated families supporting Christian education at Kingsway Christian School. We remain solidly committed to our mission, “To Glorify Christ through faith inspired learning and leadership”. Together, we will continue to execute that mission through our values: Love God, Love Others, and Love Learning.

Rooted in adoption through Christ,

 

Julie Giardino, Ed.D.

Head of School

Kingsway Christian School

 

 

Email sent 3/12/2020
Subject: KCS Closing Through April 5

Dear Charger families,

As you know we have been communicating regarding our response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Indiana.

Nothing has changed at KCS. No outbreak has occurred here. We have adequate supplies for cleaning on hand.

However, in light of the current situation state-wide, we are going to close school on-site and will teach via elearning days beginning tomorrow, March 13 through April 5. We will return to school after Spring Break on April 6.

Teachers are prepared for elearning. They will be available each morning from 9-11 AM. If you are not able to complete work or do not have access to sufficient internet or computer resources, work will be accepted after Spring Break.

Julie Giardino, Ed.D.

Head of School

 

Email sent 3/9/2020
Subject: Family Health Message Updates

Dear Charger Families,

As you may be aware, Avon Schools called a press conference this afternoon to notify the community of their decision to close Avon Schools through March 20. I respect our colleagues’ decision and support the process that they used to arrive at their conclusions. The KCS Executive Administration has checked with surrounding schools to measure their approach. As you may know, at this writing there are no other school systems in our area closing. Our School Board has met with our Executive Administration to further develop and re-affirm our approach.

This message is intended to bring you up to date on current circumstances within our beloved school. I have been in contact with the Hendricks County Health Department and described our concerns about keeping school open versus closing. I have obtained a written opinion from the Health Department that the decision to close Avon Schools was complex, but it rested upon the fact that there was one active COVID-19 diagnosis confirmed. That is not the case at KCS. KCS will remain open as scheduled unless circumstances warrant closure. Hendricks County Health Department has affirmed our decision to remain open under current circumstances.

I have added these additional precautions today:

All classrooms have adequate supply of hand sanitizer, and students have been trained by our nurse on hand washing times and techniques.  We are continuing the cleaning of all laptop keyboards and phones. 

All hand washing sinks have been checked for functionality. If students are unable to use hand washing sinks, they are instructed to use hand sanitizer as a hygiene solution.

Hallway water fountains have been disabled. I request that you send a portable water bottle for your child that can be re-filled in a variety of places throughout the school.

We have met with our cleaning crew, evaluated their chemicals and received the MSDS sheets verifying their toxicity and effectiveness for antiviral and antibacterial purposes.

I am tracking all absent students and the calls parents register for absence. The overwhelming majority of our absences were in response to my request to keep students home if they have been ill recently. Those students may return to school if they are without symptoms and fever free for at least 24 hours without use of fever reducing agents.

We are prepared to offer Free and Reduced lunches for students who qualified. All others should plan to bring their lunches to school. Since Avon Schools provides our lunch program, we are not able to offer the full lunch program due to their closure.

Special Services from Avon Schools (Lisa Buetow and Kasey King) will continue to be on site KCS since they have no contact with any Avon students.

Advice from the Health Department has not changed:

Children or staff displaying cold or flu symptoms should not attend school until they are fever free for 24 hours without use of fever reducing agents.

Those with symptoms of fever at or over 100.4 degrees, cough and shortness of breath should contact their doctors’ offices. Many are being evaluated remotely to help contain the illnesses, not all will be tested for COVID-19.

The best defense is a good offense – wash hands properly and often – using correct format: Lather up with soap by rubbing palms together, rub backs of hands, rub in between fingers and rinse into the sink. Hand washing takes at least 20 seconds if done correctly.

Maintain and clean all shared surfaces.

Stay away from sick people.

Our staff is preparing for student absences. We are readying plans for elearning for students who are directed by physicians or where parents have decided to keep students home in observation of my request to strictly observe our attendance policy. We do not want students to lose progress. Their teachers will be preparing lessons on a one-day delay so they can keep up with their classes.

If any of the following were to occur we would take action to close school:

If we verify an active diagnosis of a COVID-19 case at KCS.

If we should be unable to secure adequate supply of soap, hand sanitizer or other essential cleaning supplies.

If we are required to close by the CDC or Hendricks County Health Department.

If we find it unproductive to hold school because of high absenteeism due to illnesses.

If KCS closes school, we will go immediately to the elearning protocols. You will be notified of our closing by Ren Web text alert and email system. We have already practiced this. Teachers will post assignments and lessons for your child and will be available for assistance from 9-11 am daily. Our staff is working hard at creating productive, inclusive and important progress forwarding work that has educational value. This work will be required and will be included in student grades. For those who cannot access or cannot complete work daily, they will be granted 2 school days for completion. Please double check your school access passwords for Ren Web to be certain you have the access you will need for elearning. We are doing the same tests at school tomorrow.

In the meantime, I ask you to be calm, prayerful and wise about your approach to this situation. Our children are watching. We are teaching them something by our actions and our words. I ask you to direct your comments and concerns regarding KCS to me so I can give you up to date and true information: Otherwise, the Hendricks County Health Department website can help guide your response to COVID-19 https://www.co.hendricks.in.us/egov/apps/document/center.egov?view=item;id=6804 .

In the words of our Hendricks County Health Officer “don’t panic”. In the words of our Lord, “Do not fear, for I am with you always”. Isaiah 41:10.

Rooted in Christ,

 

Julie Giardino, Ed.D.

Head of School

Kingsway Christian School

Email sent 3/9/2020
Subject: School Schedule 3-9-2020

Dear Charger families,

We were notified that Avon Community Schools are closed tomorrow for elearning. There has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Hickory Elementary School and it will be closed until April 6. Current Health Department requirements include "self-quarrantine" in instances where one suspects exposure to COVID 19. If anyone in your family has potentially been exposed, please be responsible and follow that advice.

KCS will be opening tomorrow as planned, however since Avon Schools provides our hot lunch program we will not have our customary lunch service. Students who qualify for Free and Reduced lunches will have a lunch provided by Kingsway. For those not participating in that program, we ask that you plan to provide lunch for your child.

Further, in an abundance of caution for our students, all students who have had flu, diagnosed influenza, STREP, or cold symptoms as recently as Thursday (March 5) of last week, should stay at home tomorrow. Students or staff who arrive at school with cold or flu-like symptoms will be sent home immediately. These absences will be marked excused.

I am in contact with the Hendricks County Health Department and will share updates with you as I have them. In the meantime, refer to my communication from last week. We will continue to be diligent in our efforts to keep a clean and healthy school.

If you are concerned about having your child attend school, please use your best judgement about your child's health and consult your doctor's office for advice.

Thank you for your responsible action and your support of KCS and its families. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions or concerns.

Julie Giardino, Ed.D.

Head of School

Kingsway Christian School

 

Email sent: 3/6/2020

Subject: Family health message

Dear Parents,

With recent news of a case of COVID 19 in Marion County, I realize there may be some questions concerning our preparedness for outbreak of contagious disease. The CDC and the Indiana Department of Education are issuing recommendations for schools. Our leadership team is closely monitoring the state and national bulletins so that KCS continues to be prepared should an outbreak occur. Emergency plans are already in place for elearning days, should attendance be suspended for any reason. Families will be notified via Ren Web text messaging should a closure be necessary. Until then, school schedules will continue per our normal calendar.

During this season of the year, we are especially aware of students who are displaying symptoms of influenza or respiratory illness. If children arrive at school with symptoms of illness, normal practice is to send students to see Nurse Nancy for monitoring. If your child is ill, he/she will be released from the Nurse’s office to your care. As a preventative measure, Nurse Nancy is visiting classrooms to remind students about proper hand washing and good hygiene practice. All classrooms have alcohol-based hand sanitizer available to students and staff as well. As part of the Charger family, I thank you for your diligence in allowing us to reinforce good personal hygiene practices.

I ask you to carefully observe this school policy on attendance:

Parents are requested to inform the school office when their child is sick and not able to attend school. Children who become ill at school will be seen by the school nurse. Children with a temperature greater than 99.8 and/or not feeling well will be sent home and should remain home until they are fever-free 24 hours, without receiving Tylenol/Ibuprofen. Children with flu-like symptoms, even though fever-free, should remain home until they are well. Any questions regarding student illness may be directed to the school nurse. (Parent Handbook 2019-2020)

In addition to limiting attendance for sick children, we are also cautious about cleaning. Please be assured that our established daily cleaning routines have always included procedures for preventing the spread of illness. Part of our process includes daily disinfecting of all shared surfaces (handrails, cafeteria tables, doorknobs, sinks, drinking fountains, bathrooms and locker rooms). Additionally, our cleaning crew applies sanitizing solution three times per year (during breaks) to kill and prevent MERSA and STREP.

You can learn more about the COVID19 virus and the national response by visiting the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

This recent bulletin from our insurance provider gives these action steps:

Stay informed – the situation with the coronavirus is fluid and the CDC is updating its website daily with the latest information and advice for the public.
Remember to take everyday preventive actions that are always recommended to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
Avoid close contact with sick people.
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Stay home if you are sick.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC and State Department have issued advisories asking people to avoid all nonessential travel to China and South Korea at this time. Travel alerts have also been issued for Japan, Italy and Iran.
Thank you for your partnership and prayer for KCS and its families.

Rooted in Christ,


Julie Giardino, Ed.D.

Head of School

Kingsway Christian School

317-272-2227

 

 

We have also submitted a Continuous Learning Plan to the Indiana Department of Education.