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COVID-19 Information and Updates

August 14, 2020—CVCS Reopening Plan Update

Dear CVCS Community,

As we continue our journey to the first day of school, the CVCS School Board of Trustees, as well as administrators, faculty, and staff have been praying for your family and working around the clock to be ready to educate your children beginning on September 8.  We could not be more excited!
 
In order to be well-informed and prepared, there are several important documents you will need to review.   
 
1. Updated Reopening Plan
 
I shared the basics of this new plan with you in my reopening email sent on July 29 and during my Q and A gathering on July 31. The new plan is linked here for your review, please read it thoroughly, and if you have any questions contact the grade level principals or me.
 
2. CVCS Parent Certification and Acknowledgment
 
CVCS has created a thorough plan for safely educating students that is aligned to the California Department of Public Health guidance standards for reopening. While we have made every effort to ensure everyone's safety, we cannot guarantee that someone will not contract the virus during a school event. Families choosing to attend have an obligation to protect each other and the school, and our risk is mitigated when we all work together as a community.  In order for your student(s) to attend, we are requiring a signed acknowledgment of the risks associated with attendance.  
 
The link to sign the form digitally is located here. Please login to the Family Portal, sign and submit this document after you have read it carefully. The document must be submitted by Friday, August 28, 2020. If you need assistance logging into your account, please email mbaird@cvcs.org 
 
 
In order to meet the needs of students with pre-existing health conditions or any family that desires to reduce exposure, CVCS is offering the option of voluntary remote learning. Any family that wishes to participate in remote learning must fill out the form provided here.  The deadline to submit this form is Friday, August 28. If you have any questions about the remote learning option, please contact the grade level administrator.
 
 
We know you need to update your calendars, so I have linked the updated school calendar for your reference here.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says something exceedingly simple but deeply profound, "Pray without ceasing."  As Christians, we know that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (James 5:16), so will you join me in praying without ceasing in the days ahead?  Let us pray for a safe and successful school year uninterrupted by the virus, a beautiful year of learning and fellowship in Christian community, healing for our nation, and above all, that each of us may know Jesus more and become more like Him as we experience His endless goodness through every life circumstance. Thank you for joining us this year, we look forward to seeing you very soon!
 
Sincerely,
 
Chris
 
Christopher Rutz
Head of Schools
Capistrano Valley Christian Schools
www.cvcs.org

Dear CVCS Community,

Through countless hours of prayer, discussion, and planning, CVCS is pleased to announce that we have made the determination to open our doors for full JK-12 in-person instruction beginning on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. We have taken into account feedback from CVCS parents, faculty, and staff, as well as recommendations put forth by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatricians, and state and local public health officials. This decision was made by the school board of trustees.  

There are several important elements to our opening for your consideration:

  1. Over the past week, statistics have shown a positive downward trend, and to allow for further improvement in the data, we made the determination to delay the start date until after Labor Day.  September 8 is our firm JK-12 start date for on-campus learning, and we will not be making further changes. A detailed annual school calendar with revised start, end, minimum, and semester dates will be forthcoming.

  2. In our recent survey, more than 90% of both parents and CVCS faculty and staff indicated a desire for full on-campus learning. However, to accommodate families who prefer to start remotely, we are providing a remote learning option. We will share the details of this program in our updated reopening plan soon.

  3. We have updated our reopening plan to align with the California Department of Public Health guidelines released on July 17. This is the most crucial step because it allows us to begin in-person instruction while aligning with CDPH guidelines. We will be releasing our updated guidelines soon.

Let us rejoice in this most exciting thought—we will be together in the community we love in just a few short weeks! While I wish it were today, I am willing to wait patiently for the blessing of seeing you all safely in September.  I know you will have many questions, which is why I am hosting an informal Q&A event this Friday, July 31 at 12:00 p.m. in the CVCS parking lot. Please bring a beach chair and join me in person. If you are not able to join us we will be taping the conversation and sending a link to watch it at your convenience. If you would like to send questions in advance, please email them to communications@cvcs.org.

On behalf of the entire CVCS faculty and staff, we love you, we are praying for you, and we can’t wait to see you on the first day of school!

Sincerely in Christ, 

Chris Rutz
Head of Schools
Capistrano Valley Christian Schools

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” - James 1:2–4


Dear CVCS Community,


The scriptures point us to Jesus and instruct us how to live out our faith in Him, and it is in these most challenging times that we have the greatest opportunity to fully trust God and strengthen our faith in Him. I know you want answers to bring clarity to what this school year will look like, and we are working hard to develop clear answers as we adjust to new guidelines, but in the interim I encourage you to remember that our God is sovereign, He reminds us daily to trust and not to fear, and as we do those things He will guide us as one community through this difficult time.


In its Guidance for School Re-Entry released last month, The American Academy of Pediatrics, “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” Additionally, The CDC released an article yesterday entitled, The Importance of Reopening Schools this Fall that states the importance of this objective is a top priority. In agreement with the CDC and the AAP, our foremost goal is to pursue every path to a safe return to in-person instruction. The state has given a possible path to return through the granting of a waiver from our local health jurisdiction (LJH), at least for elementary school. The state is preparing the application and we will be submitting it as soon as we are able.


While we are reworking our plan for reopening with consideration of the updated guidelines, we are also preparing for the possibility of remote instruction in the event it becomes necessary. Here is the good news—if it becomes necessary, remote learning will be significantly improved over last year. For example, teachers in all grade levels will be teaching from their classrooms. This means elementary teachers would be instructing live throughout the day so the students will be engaged in direct instruction from their teachers. Junior high and high school students will be online with their teachers, but with the added bonus of being able to access their teachers in person by appointment. 


Our bottom line is simple: Keep our community safe and come together for in-person education as soon as humanly possible. The CVCS School Board will be meeting next week to discuss our path forward, and I will communicate our new plan as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience—it is not an easy time—but we will get through this together as we rely on our faith in God and on the tight bonds of the relationships we enjoy in the CVCS community.


Sincerely in Christ,


Chris Rutz

Head of Schools

 

 

Dear CVCS community, we have received many inquiries about our response to Governor Newsom’s press conference today. Our goal is to continue to pursue the reopening plan we released on June 26, but we will be reviewing the new directives and monitoring developments over the next week. We will update you with our response as soon as possible. Please join us by praying for a positive resolution that allows for our intended opening on August 19.

Today, Governor Newsom announced he will require masks in most public settings in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise daily. The order specifically exempts schools and childcare settings.
Dear Capistrano Valley Christian Schools Family,
 
The global pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives and has changed how we interact with the world around us. Contrary to popular sentiment, I believe these changes are temporary, and we will once again return to a life with the normal interactions we have enjoyed as members of an interconnected society. CVCS is committed to returning to the warm interactions we have always enjoyed as a tightly-knit community centered on our faith in Jesus Christ. We do not and will not live in fear, because fear is contrary to our faith. At the same time, we are working diligently to plan for a return to “normal” in a manner that maximizes the health and safety of our community and respects the laws of our nation.
 
COVID-19 has not stopped us from connecting, learning, and worshipping.  
 
Providing an excellent Christian education during the current health crisis has required flexibility from everyone. I know this has been tremendously difficult, and I have grieved for you as many of you have suffered significantly. The talents and commitment of our staff in the launch of remote learning in mid-March has reflected our faculty’s true excellence. We know this has not been done perfectly, there are many opportunities for future growth and improvement, and I am sorry for anything that has not been perfect. Despite these imperfections, the efforts of our teachers have been truly inspiring. Through hard work and God's grace, together we have survived an ending to our school year that no one could have possibly imagined last fall. 
 
Preparing for 2020-2021 As the end of this school year approaches, what school will look like this fall is still not completely known, but as I have already announced, we fully intend to reopen school on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, and every indicator suggests that we will not be prohibited by state or national authorities from doing so.  
 
Beginning in early June, CVCS is participating in Baylor University’s Virtual Learning Academy, which is holding a nationwide seminar for leading Christian schools across America. We are convening a reopening task force to thoroughly plan for multiple scenarios. The task force is working diligently to develop a reopening plan that prioritizes two things in equal measure: 1) the health and safety of our community, and 2) a return to normal operations that allows our students to engage in the academic, social, spiritual, athletic, and artistic experiences you have always loved. I do not believe these are mutually exclusive pursuits and we are going to do everything we can to get back to enjoying the full life of the school.
 
To be ready, we are planning for two important scenarios:
 
Scenario 1: On-Campus Learning Our specific plans will be finalized through the work of our task force in June and will be guided by current health department information and a commonsense approach to reinstating the traditional learning environment in a safe manner. We will be considering strategies in each of the following areas, including but not limited to:
  • Hygiene procedures: Instituting regular handwashing and sanitizing protocols with necessary equipment and materials.

  • Sanitation procedures: Strengthening ongoing procedures, hiring additional facilities and maintenance staff, and instituting increased disinfecting regimens.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Determining when masks may be required on campus.

  • Testing: Ensuring the health and safety of students and staff through screening procedures.

  • Social Distancing: Utilizing classroom space through strategic classroom seating configurations. Applying appropriate distancing measures throughout campus, for example, the cafeteria, lunch dining areas, the worship center, etc.

  • Enhanced technology platforms: Enhancing technology to support instruction both on- and off-campus learning in ways that are appropriate to students’ ages and developmental levels.

 
Scenario 2: Preparing for Interruptions
Building on what we have learned over the last few months, the task force is preparing for a variety of scenarios in which there is an interruption to on-campus learning. In the event an interruption of on-campus learning becomes necessary, we will be prepared to shift to off-campus learning immediately and effectively, but only if the situation absolutely requires it. No matter what happens, we will be ready to deliver an excellent level of education to our students at every grade level.
 
Regarding Finances
The quarantine has had a massive impact on our economy, and I recognize that many of you have been adversely affected financially. This has been true of the school as well. We were unable to hold two important fundraising events (the auction and golf tournament) that help fund operations, but by God’s grace and with a narrow margin, we have been able to finish the year without a financial deficit. Every penny of your tuition and fees have been put to maximum use in educating your children during the closure.
 
In planning for the 2020-2021 school year, we know that many families have been directly impacted by COVID-19 related financial hardship, which is why I have instructed our business department to work with families who find themselves in this situation on alternative payment plans. If you are one of those families, you may access the COVID-19 Alternative Payment Plan Application here.
 
Additionally, each year at this time you receive your bill for the program fees that are due in August. You will still receive that bill, but to assist families who need time, we are moving the deadline for those fees to Friday, November 6, 2020. This will allow flexibility, so if it is more convenient to pay this summer you can, or if you need to delay or finance payments you have this option as well.
 
We are taking these steps because you—our CVCS family members—are our top priority, and we are here to serve you now more than ever. Thank you for your prayers, ongoing support, and entrusting your children to our care.
 
For 47 years, God has faithfully blessed our students, families, and school. Change is no stranger to our school and, as we have done in the past, we will rely on God’s guidance and wisdom. We will endure, and we will be better on the other side as we trust in the Lord and watch the beautiful way He will guide us through this once-in-a-lifetime challenge. Personally, and on behalf of the Board of Trustees and our nearly 100 faculty and staff, we love you, we are praying for you, and we look forward with excitement to this coming August when we will all be together again.
 
Sincerely in Christ,
Chris Rutz
Head of Schools