While recommendations for reopening schools at the local, state, and federal levels will continue to be updated throughout the summer and school year, CHS is preparing to begin in-person classes on September 2, 2020. Although some aspects of school will look a bit different in the fall, our enduring mission of providing “students with an education of spiritual and academic excellence with which to serve God” remains central to all that we do.
To that end, we will continue to prioritize robust, meaningful learning experiences that are adaptive for and accessible to all of our students. Furthermore, in our commitment to the health and safety of CHS students, staff, and families, we anticipate that we will have to be nimble with our plans throughout the school year. As a small, private school we are uniquely positioned to pivot quickly to meet the needs of our school community. We count it a privilege to partner with families during these uncertain times, and we look forward to what the Lord will do in the lives of our students in the coming year.
To respond effectively to the changing nature of this pandemic and its impact on communities, the Return2Learn team has developed the reopening plans in seven target areas.
7 Target Areas
[July 6, 2020] We are establishing protocols for social distancing and safety practices (e.g. wearing masks, washing hands, personal hygiene), implementing procedures for monitoring illnesses, and reporting and responding to potential COVID-19 infections within our school community. Our school nurse, Ms. Watkins, has been working with the Health Department and other local health officials to update our COVID-19 response plan and will implement new state and town guidelines once they have been established. We will then communicate this plan to the school community.
[July 6, 2020] We have been evaluating the most effective use of classroom and work spaces, as well as high-traffic areas (lobby, hallways, cafeteria, café) to comply with safety guidelines regarding maximum occupancy, traffic flow, and maintaining appropriate distancing. Classrooms will be arranged according to the most recent guidelines from the CT State Department of Education, including configuration of desks, minimizing high touch areas and sharing of materials, and access to sanitizing supplies. We are planning some additional space for the nurse’s office to provide more area for distancing. Additionally, the facilities staff is enhancing cleaning and disinfecting practices throughout campus and implementing visitor and other security procedures to minimize risk of the spread of disease.
[July 6, 2020] In both the US and LS, we are creating the most optimal framework for all students to learn in person, while being intentional about minimizing crowding and reducing the risk of the spread of disease. We will be implementing some modified arrival/dismissal procedures that will streamline student travel to and from their classrooms each day. More specifics about students’ schedules (US) and arrival and dismissal procedures (US and LS) will come from divisional principals.
[July 6, 2020] We continue to prioritize providing robust, meaningful learning experiences that are adaptive for and accessible to all of our students. We are working to comply with recommendations to keep students as cohorted as possible throughout the day without losing rich opportunities to learn. For LS this means that students will remain together as a class unit more so than in the past. Some traditionally large group activities such as lunch and chapel will be held in smaller settings, and recess will occur by class. Additionally, LS classes will begin orientation to online learning platforms such as Google Classroom through school-purchased Chromebooks. This addition to the curriculum will not only enhance classroom learning experiences, but also facilitate continuity of learning should there be times when students have to move to distance learning. We are also purchasing technology for live streaming of some classes in the event that a student has to remain at home temporarily. In the US, we are committed to providing as many course options as possible for students; as a result, in some grades a strict cohort model is not always feasible. However, we will be implementing a schedule that minimizes the frequency of hallway crowding, emphasizes more teacher movement to classrooms where possible, and reduces congestion of restroom use. For larger class settings such as choir and band, we are looking at creative use of spaces on campus.
[July 6, 2020] As we assess all-school, divisional, and grade-specific extra-curricular activities and events, we are making modifications that reinforce the purpose of the activity as much as possible. For example, at the outset of the year, it is likely that chapel will be held in smaller group settings or in spaces that provide more distancing options. Other after school activities such as sports and clubs will be updated as the various athletic associations and state leaders provide recommendations. Currently, our student ministry team is planning an alternative to the US overnight fall retreats so that students can have the opportunity to fellowship, worship, and grow together. We know that student life and community are so integral to CHS, so we want to provide as many of those experiences as possible, even if the format is modified.
[July 6, 2020] We were encouraged to hear some of the recent announcements from the state regarding school reopening in the fall. That information confirmed the direction in which we were heading, and we want to provide updates on CHS’s preparations as they continue to form. In addition to emails, we will also be posting updates on our website on a Return2Learn link. We look forward to the opportunity to share plans and hear your questions. To that end, the following parent meetings have been scheduled:
LS Parent Meeting: Wednesday, July 15, at 7:30 pm.
US Parent Meeting: Tuesday, July 14, at 7:30 pm.
(Zoom links will be emailed 2-3 days prior to each of these meetings.)
You will also receive a survey the week of July 20 to provide feedback about the fall.
[July 6, 2020] It is our desire to assist students and parents as we all make the transition to return in the fall. We know that some are eager to be back on campus, and for others, there may be concerns about being back on campus. Our wellbeing and support team is working to help students feel as prepared, successful, and as healthy as possible. One way is for families to familiarize themselves with some of the changes as they are implemented during the summer. Second, we are planning a Return to Learn Day in August to help walk students through what it will be like to come back to campus and what they can expect; our hope is that some of these things will help alleviate any fear or anxiety of the unknowns and help students get excited to be back on campus. More information about the Return to Learn Day will be provided later in the summer.
Frequently Asked Questions
In order to monitor student’s health, parents must inform the school of the reason for their child’s absence. For the safety of our school community, it is vital that we are notified if your child is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, particularly if they have had known contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. The School Nurse will monitor communicable illness trends and report to the Director of Nursing, CHS Administration and/or the Trumbull Health Department, if needed.
Staff will also be asked to monitor their health for any signs/ symptoms of illness and communicate those symptoms with the School Nurse.
CHS will also be monitoring attendance through a phone extension for parents to call on any day when their student is absent. Parents will be required to provide information that communicates the health status of the child so that the School Nurse can continue to monitor the health of the school community.
If a student (or staff member) tests positive for COVID-19, the Trumbull Health Department and CHS Administration will be notified. The Trumbull Health Department will implement their procedures for follow-up on each case and communicate their findings to CHS as well as a response plan. The Head of School will communicate the school’s course of action with CHS families.
If a student becomes ill during the school day, parents will be contacted and requested to pick up their child as soon as possible. If a child is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or another contagious illness, the child will wait in a separate monitored space in the Health Office to prevent illness spread to other children. Depending on symptoms, parents may be advised to contact their child’s pediatrician for follow up and/or COVID testing.
Please make sure that your emergency contact information is updated in FACTS. It is imperative that there are several reliable emergency contacts listed.
As has always been the case, we will work with families whose children need to be at home temporarily for one reason or another. For instance, this fall many classrooms will be equipped with technology that allows some live streaming of instruction in order to facilitate student learning as much as possible. However, as school reopens in person, we cannot guarantee an uncompromised experience for those out of school; as a result, being present is the only thing that can guarantee the ideal learning experience at CHS.
We understand there may be a very small number of parents whose student(s) may be unable to begin classes in person on September 2. When we are closer to the start of the school year, please communicate this information to the division principals.
Lunch: Chef Walter and Flik are prepared for a variety of restrictions that may exist. We are prepared for the possibility that students may have to eat in classrooms or in smaller groups than usual. We will work to follow guidelines while providing as much social interaction as possible.
Recess (LS): Recess will be held outdoors, weather permitting, within existing cohorts.
PE: Physical Education classes will either be held in the gymnasium where there is abundant room for distancing or will be held outside, weather permitting. When necessary, PE activities will focus more on individual fitness and health to minimize the physical contact that some team sports require. Additionally, the space in the gym is big enough for students to meet without issue.
Band & Choir: These classes, even with distancing of seats, will fit on stage. In any instance where a class is too large, an alternative space will be used. We will safely clean and store instruments and store instruments that multiple students use each day.
Chapel — US: We plan to avoid settings in which too many students are in any one location. In light of this, we have made contingency plans to change traditional chapel locations and to meet in smaller groups of students while streaming the service that will be broadcast to classrooms via Apple TVs. As state guidelines about group gatherings are updated, we will consider alternative options.
Chapel — LS: We plan to hold chapel in cohorts to meet current state guidelines that limit large group gatherings.
On Wednesday mornings, while the faculty and staff have professional development, childcare will be provided for students in grades K-5 from 7:20 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. for families who have a work-related reason to drop off early. Kingsmen Kids will continue to be offered after school.
(LS) Morning drop-off: Upon entering CHS in the morning, LS students will no longer gather in the gym but will go directly to their classrooms to begin their day with their cohort.
(LS) Dismissal: Students will remain in their cohorts spread out around the circle (as in the past) while waiting for parents to pick them up.
(LS & US) Wednesday TE@CH schedule: Please note that this is a change from last year’s Thursday TE@CH schedule. The Wednesday TE@CH time will provide an opportunity for on-going professional development; as well as, collaboration among the CHS faculty and staff to continue to develop our educators to provide a hybrid of live and distance learning. On Wednesdays, school will begin at 8:50, and dismissal time will be the same as regular days.
(LS & US) Regular Day (M, T, Th, F) schedule: There will be no change to the starting or ending time from last year.
In addition to the regular security check-in procedures, visitors will be asked to complete a health check-in prior to entering the building. CHS will be monitoring the numbers of visitors and will place limitations on numbers if deemed appropriate at times. We ask that you assist us by calling ahead for any unscheduled visits.
As a private school, CHS has the flexibility to adapt quickly as conditions change; additionally, our small class sizes provide many opportunities to be nimble in our planning and decision-making. The recent school reopening plan for the state of Connecticut has provided parameters that are important for us to evaluate as we seek to protect the safety and health of our students and staff on campus. In general, CHS is following the guidelines that are posted as required for all public schools in Connecticut. However, only the recommended items that pertain to our specific setting and reflect the needs of our school community will be implemented.
The state of Connecticut’s school reopening plan requires that masks be worn by everyone on campus. All students, staff, and visitors will wear masks throughout the day in high traffic areas such as hallways, lobbies, and school entrances. However, students and teachers will be permitted to take mask breaks at various points during lessons, as deemed appropriate by teachers during activities when social distancing can still be in place. As a K-12 school comprised of many developmental levels, the timing and nature of those breaks will naturally vary by grade level. Teachers will also be permitted to teach portions of lessons without masks as long as they can maintain the appropriate distance in their particular teaching setting.
The real costs of a CHS education continue during such a period, and the faculty and staff must work harder during these distance learning sessions. The cost of our faculty and staff compensation is a large percentage of our school budget. Given that our quality, mission-appropriate and committed Christian faculty and staff are the cornerstone of the CHS educational mission, we cannot easily add and subtract this cost as learning modes change.
At this point, there are no plans to refund tuition under distance learning conditions, but we will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate our options as new information becomes available. The Board has allocated additional funds for discounts for families whose incomes have been negatively affected by the pandemic. For information about this program, please contact Vicky Wiegand, Director of Finance, for the appropriate application form.
Our perpetual enrollment policy states that after the February 28 deadline (April 30 for families who have applied for a variable tuition by February 28) students are considered to be enrolled for the next school year, and all deposits and fees are non-refundable. In addition, our policy states that tuition is due in full for the next school year if the deadline has passed by the time a written notification of withdrawal is received by the Finance Office.
The reason for this policy is that the School commits to a large percentage of its annual operating costs each spring before the next school year begins. We have to be able to predict our enrollment levels for the next year in order to ensure that we have the appropriate staffing and supply levels for the coming year.
We understand that some parents are making difficult decisions this summer related to their student’s education for the coming school year. However, the school has committed to a large portion of its expenses for the 2020-2021 school year by this time, relying on the perpetual enrollment of our students to form the basis for our estimated costs. CHS has already made commitments to our faculty and staff for 20-21, and we are counting on our parents to uphold their tuition agreements so we can continue to honor our commitment to staff/faculty. We know this is a difficult situation that was neither created by our school nor our parents. We will do all we can to help families honor the tuition commitment in a way that is consistent for all families and provides care and flexibility while still allowing CHS to honor our commitments to staff/faculty.
Our goal is to have our Kingsmen athletes back on the fields, courts, courses, and pools. Currently, the CHS Athletic department intends to operate a fall varsity athletics season within parameters that safeguard the health of students. One of the many logistics that we are working through is transportation and compliance with state guidelines. Parents will most likely be called upon to help transport students to games as they are available. As we work through these and other details, our Athletic Director is utilizing resources from other ADs around the country to help ensure a safe season of varsity athletics.
- Develop a routine prior to school starting (bedtime, healthy breakfast, preparing school materials night before).
- Practice wearing a mask correctly.
- Practice hand washing.
- Discuss possible changes with your child including drop off, how lunch and class time may be different.
- Have a practice day (pack backpack, practice morning routine, drive to school, play on playground).
- Attend the Return to Learn Day – a practice day for students by grade level.
- Reconnect with classmates prior to school via Zoom or FaceTime.
- If your child is experiencing unusual anxiety, please reach out to their teacher or counselor.
- Refer to “Helpful Resources” section for additional resources.