Calvin Christian School wants to assure you that the safety and well-being of our students and staff is our highest priority. The Board and Administration of Calvin Christian School wish to inform the Calvin community that we currently intend to resume in-person classes for the 2020-21 school year. This assumes local and state government officials permit us to do so and that we are able to meet applicable safety concerns and measures.
The latest communication from the school is below and earlier communications are available in the archive below. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the school office at 760-489-6430.
The CART team wanted to provide a brief message and update to the community.
First of all, we want to thank you for your patience and support in the first month of school. Each family, student, teacher, and administrator has done their part to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Your efforts and dedication led to a zero case September! This is an immense blessing; you all came together during this difficult time and have contributed greatly to this outcome. Yet, we must remain diligent going forward. This virus will certainly be with us into 2021. Please continue to monitor your students, follow the guidelines, and serve your neighbor and community.
Second, there will be a minor update to the CART report in the areas of athletics, events, and staff testing. This will likely come out in the next 1-2 weeks. The administration is beginning to layer in a few additional campus activities, but at a slow, methodical rate. These are important parts of a whole person education yet we are seeking to properly balance these against any additional risk it may add to cases.
Thanks again for entrusting your children’s education to Calvin Christian. It’s a school with a strong heritage, excellent academics, and a dedicated mission. We hope you are as thankful and joyful as we are to be part of in-person learning at Calvin during this unique time.
Chair of CART
The Board met last night, August 19, and deliberated all the ‘what-if’ scenarios surrounding health orders, the elementary waiver, the county case rate trend, official start date, community responsibility, religious freedom rights, student health, family needs, and school risk. We realize each one of us has been placed in this role of Calvin Trustee by God’s providence; it is our duty to lead in difficult times as this, so we daily pray for wisdom. A summary of the Board decisions for the start of Calvin’s 2020-21 school year is captured below.
- Required orientation days for all K-12 students (meet the teacher, syllabus handout, COVID-19 training, technology training, etc.) will be conducted from August 26-31. By August 22, the administration will communicate the details of when and for how long each grade needs to be on campus during these dates.
- The official start of formal classes begins September 1. All students should currently plan on attending campus for a 3-day first week from September 1-3.
For the K-6 grades, the county waiver application was first submitted on August 12. The school received a reply on August 15 stating our report was not in full compliance with face covering protocol and with staff testing. The administration and CART members updated the return plan, posted version 3 to the website, and re-submitted the waiver application on August 17. Under government bureaucracy, this re-started the 5 business day cycle before final notice. We have high confidence in getting the waiver approved by August 24 and are therefore informing all K-6 families and teachers to plan on in-person learning.
Per local and state announcements, San Diego County was officially removed from the state’s monitoring list on August 17. With the requirement of staying below metrics for 14 additional days, San Diego’s health officer stated September 1 would be the first day K-12 schools could resume in-person classes. This is why the Board decided to pick September 1 as the official start date of formal classes, particularly helping grades 7-12. Also, a quick return as soon as permitted is beneficial based on CA Department of Public Health (CDPH) re-opening framework: “any school that has opened to in-person instruction, but the county is later placed on the monitoring list, is not required to close.” As of August 20, the county continues its improving case rate trend. We will know for certain by August 30 whether full K-12 schooling is official.
For the 7-12 grades, the full return to in-person school hinges on the 14 day metric cycle explained above. If between now and August 30, the metrics spike significantly or the government does not hold to their word, the Board will immediately convene and evaluate all options. The Board is thankful for the recent trends locally and we have renewed hope this is the decisive path God is guiding us to take for a complete return to school.
Thanks again for your patience and support. We are nearing the end of a once in a lifetime summer. We earnestly pray for the successful start of in-person school!
President, Board of Trustees
The Board met on August 12. Once again, the Board unanimously agreed that in-person education is best for our students. This topic is constantly on our minds and in our prayers. We are doing all that we can to get back to in-person schooling yet we know we have to be adaptable in this ever-changing climate. The information below provides the latest updates on our pursuits for in-person learning and our commitment dates to the Calvin community.
For the K-6 grades, the county waiver process was first available on Friday, August 7. Then, on August 11, they changed the form and added new entry criteria. The administration and CART team quickly pivoted and the K-6 waiver application was successfully submitted around 6 P.M. on August 12. Note that a version 2 of the CART report has been posted to the website and a version 3 will likely come out in the next week. The county is expected to provide Calvin with a reply no later than 5 business days after submittal; hopefully this deadline is met and we will have the waiver answer for K-6 grades by August 19.
The administration and Board have spent considerable time consulting with other schools and lawyers to understand our rights and risks to opening the entire school. In the current situation, we have discussed many creative ways and ideas to build in-person relationships and on-campus student activities. Yet, the San Diego County health order is fairly clear in restricting a complete return to in-person instruction. We are daily tracking the health orders and how and when San Diego County could be removed from the state’s monitoring list. On a positive note, as of August 13, San Diego has met the criteria for exiting the monitoring list but the county data must stay below these limits for 14 additional consecutive days. If this bears out, full K-12 in-person learning could officially start after August 28.
The Board is meeting again on August 19. This allows us to have more county data available for analysis, more insights into schools which have opened across the state (permitted or otherwise), additional legal/liability feedback, and hopefully the K-6 waiver answer. At this meeting, the Board commits to finalize what the first few weeks of school will be. The Board will communicate these decisions to the Calvin family on August 20.
We know you are all praying for this school and advocating on our behalf. Many parents and organizations have written letters of support; these are extremely meaningful to us and they played a critical role in the waiver submittal. Again, we absolutely will provide the community with clarity on our approved plan post August 19 meeting but even those decisions are subject to future changes. We are here to serve you and partner with you during these unique times. Thanks again for your patience and support. We hope you are honored to be part of this Calvin family!
President, Board of Trustees
At the meeting on July 27, the Calvin Christian School Board of Trustees reaffirmed its commitment of in-person education and voted to move the start date to August 26. Pushing back the start date allows Calvin to collaborate with other like-minded Christian schools locally and throughout the state, and to pursue appropriate legal avenues or applicable waivers. We appreciate the strong participation (>80% of all families) in the recent CART survey and as of 2 P.M. on July 28, there is overwhelming community support (>87%) for in-person learning. The school can do this in a responsible manner by strictly following CDC guidelines, thereby minimizing health risks. The CDC also recently published strong support for a return to in-person learning, evaluating the minimal virus risk posed to students, children’s lower transmissivity rates, and highlighting the harmful effects of extended remote learning. The Board is deeply convicted that in-person education is vitally important for fulfilling Calvin’s mission.
The Board is fully aware of current guidance from the state and will continue to monitor information from state and local authorities. The CART (Calvin August Return Team) is continuing its work to prepare campus and procedures in accordance with the guidelines; look for its comprehensive report to come out on August 4. The Board wants to emphasize that it will take a commitment from parents and children to create a safe environment for in-person learning and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
We ask you to pray for wisdom as we make decisions going forward and to stand with us in these ever-changing times.
President, Board of Trustees
Since our last communication, there have been many developments related to the COVID-19 situation. Please know that both CART and the Board have been meeting regularly to adapt, decide, and plan for the best path forward. We are firm in our belief that in-person learning is the best for our students. We are confident that because of all our other efforts and summer expenditures, this approach can be done in a responsible, safe manner, following all the CDC guidelines. The Board met on Wednesday evening and will meet again on Monday, July 27.
We are actively pursuing the following:
- Submitting waiver paperwork to fully operate the elementary school in-person 5 days a week
- Seeking legal counsel on fully operating the middle and upper schools
- Exploring all options for on campus student activities if we are not fully open
- Communicating with other Christian schools in the county and state to collectively join in the critical endeavor, and responsibility, of providing an excellent Christian education for our children
- Continually updating the campus to provide distancing in the classrooms, purchasing outdoor tents and shade coverings for additional space, providing sufficient hand sanitizing stations, updating cleaning supplies and protocol, etc.
- Parents – please complete a short survey by Tuesday, July 28th. This survey was shared via a Calvin News email on Friday night, July 24. If you did not receive this email, please contact the office or email us HERE. We truly need your feedback. Understanding your input will help us shape our final decisions as it tells us what the dedicated families of Calvin desire. It can also help in the waiver process mentioned earlier.
- A brief summary of our plans will be sent via e-mail and social media no later than July 30.
- A comprehensive report will be delivered to everyone no later than August 4. This will include all the campus changes, protocols, and each family’s responsibility in minimizing the virus risk.
The most important action point, of course, is for us all to continue praying for our school community. We are working diligently to best serve the educational needs of your children. The all-powerful, all-knowing God is in control; that is always the greatest news a broken world must hear.
Doug Brouwer, Board of Trustees President (Chair of CART)
Jeff Pratt, Superintendent
CART held its second meeting on Monday, June 29 and below are the highlights from this meeting:
- A mask or face shield PPE will be required daily for faculty, staff, and students. There will be clearly marked zones where these must be worn in areas where social distancing is difficult to manage.
- The administration and facility teams are hard at work to make class spaces compliant to social distance protocols such that students and teachers would be permitted to remove masks/PPE during education.
- Lunch areas will be set up to accommodate social distancing.
- It is estimated that students and staff will be required to wear their PPE about 20% of their time on campus.
- Please remember that wearing this equipment is not for the protection of the mask-wearer but is out of consideration for all our Christian neighbors on the campus each day with varying degrees of health risk.
- Additional hand washing and automated dispensers will be located throughout campus to reinforce hand cleanliness.
- Public drinking fountains will not be available for use; students will be asked to each have their own daily water container, properly name labeled, and the school will provide bottled water for those who may have forgot it or need extra.
- Symptom and temperature monitoring will be the responsibility of the parents or guardians prior to students coming to school. The school may still choose to conduct some level of additional temperature monitoring in partnerships with local nursing students and will have IR thermometers on hand for any faculty or student that needs this service.
- For unique family cases, the team is still investigating use of cameras or Chromebooks to live stream classes. The team realizes that this could be a critical need for unique situations but wants to minimize this burden on teachers who have committed to in-person learning this August.
- There are some key questions that the team would like input on from the Calvin parents; we are putting together a brief survey and would really appreciate your feedback. This will be sent out in the next 1-2 weeks.
We hope these detailed communications are helpful. Please understand that this team is diligently working to develop the appropriate protocol for a diverse group. We will continue to be flexible and adaptable as more information and data is available. We want to open school, stay in school, and best serve the dedicated families of Calvin Christian!
The school is now in transition from COVID-19 response to re-opening planning and sustainment. CART had its first meeting last week and will be meeting on a weekly basis throughout the summer. They intend to provide the community with outputs every 2 weeks via e-mail or the website. The team members are:
Doug Brouwer (technical professional, Board president, Calvin parent)
Paul Lapka (Calvin school teacher/administrator, Calvin parent)
Johnny Tiersma (school teacher, Calvin parent)
Adrienne Donovan (medical professional, Calvin parent)
Rachel Memmelaar (social worker, Calvin parent)
Monique Lineback (medical professional, Calvin parent)
The goals of this team are 3-fold:
- Develop a thoughtful and detailed plan on returning to in-person learning in August with the long-term vision of staying in school
- Delegate requested facility and procedural changes in a responsible manner, emphasizing the health and safety of Calvin’s employees and students
- Be adaptable and flexible in the process as new information and guidelines become available
In the first meeting, the team focused on changes to facilities and classrooms, on-campus signage, the continuing need for social distancing practices, and daily/weekly cleaning schedules. School will be different in August, but we are trying our best to minimize the burden on parents and to maintain a positive educational experience for the students. As a smaller school with amazing facilities, we have a distinct advantage in how we implement this plan. Bear with us, and pray for us, as we work through all the many details to make this a successful transition. At any time, please feel free to reach out to the 6 members of this team; we appreciate your input and feedback.
Our Return Plan
Here is the second release of Calvin Christian’s return to school plan for K-12. We are thankful that our preschool is currently operating according to state standards set out for them. Based upon future Board decisions or county clearance, this is what school will look like for an in-person learning environment. We hope this provides sufficient detail to answer many of the questions families have had over the past couple months. The Calvin community is strong and we appreciate your patience, prayers, and support during this unique time.
Calvin Christian School’s K-12 Return to School Plan, version 3, was made available by Calvin’s August Return Team, a task force of the CCS Board of Trustees.