Cougar Community: Covid-19

Last year, we learned many lessons about how to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students, faculty, staff and their families. The Lord blessed our community with very little community spread and relatively few interruptions. CCS’s mission to disciple students is best delivered on-campus and in-person, and our health protocols will be designed to promote in-person instruction as much as possible. 

 

Regarding health and safety plans, CCS will manage our own health protocols and procedures based on our school’s health environment and local community metrics, adjusting campus protocols as we discern what is best based on our local environment. We will continue to monitor local health trends and make adjustments to our health and safety protocols as necessary throughout the year in order to manage the health of our community.


Key decision drivers for Fall, 2o21 planning include:

• COVID-19 case counts in the local community and in the school community

• COVID-19 vaccination availability and rates in the local community

• Ability of the CCS team to quickly adapt when the environment requires adjustments 

• Feedback from faculty and families which affirmed that our mission is best delivered in person, on campus.

A Flexible Campus, Curriculum & Community with a Firm Commitment to Mission & Safety

Carmel Christian School exists to provide an excellent education, built on biblical truth, which equips students to reflect Christ to the world.

The CCS mission holds firm during these extraordinary times. Since the start of the pandemic, the CCS Family has continued to adapt to the circumstances in order to enable on campus instruction while preserving the health & safety of CCS students, families, faculty and staff.  

Our Planning Priorities
• Health & Safety

• Flexibility
• Discipleship
• Excellence

Our Planning Goals

• Evaluate data and apply lessons learned of school operations from the past year and a half 

• Revise remote learning methods and procedures to ensure quality education and delivery of the mission to the whole student body

• Evaluate the physical environment and make adjustments to promote public health

• Review programs, policies, and procedures for safe operations

• Identify tools and resources to make work easier and more effective in this environment

 
COMMITMENT
Now more than ever, we value our partnership with you in disciple-making education. We are relying on a firm commitment from our families to protect the school community by ensuring students are healthy prior to coming to school and reporting illnesses promptly. Families can depend on CCS to do our best to provide a safe campus environment and to deliver excellent, disciple-making education.
FLEXIBLE CAMPUS
Modifications will be put in place to promote health & safety while on campus. Throughout the year, as we monitor local health trends as well as guidance provided by the CDC and state and local health departments, we will make adjustments to our health and safety protocols as necessary in order to manage the health of our community.
 
FLEXIBLE CLASSROOMS
Individual student access to remote learning will be available to our students on a short-term basis for students who are well but are required to stay home due to a COVID-related health concern or a REQUIRED quarantine period. In addition, remote learning will be possible for specific classes, divisions (ES, MS or HS) or the entire school if deemed necessary. Temporary shifts to remote learning will not change our mission of providing an excellent disciple-making education. Our gifted teachers are prepared for creative instructional delivery in all modes. Chromebook access for K-12 students enhances both on campus and remote instruction and allows for live (synchronous), remote participation in school.
FLEXIBLE COMMUNITY
Flexibility remains important! Though we are striving for a more “normal” school year, modifications to our health protocols may be necessary. At such times, a true surrender of what feels “normal” will be necessary for the sake of being together on campus. We all should be prepared to manage interruptions to on campus learning, if needed.
 

Community communication is paramount to ensure everyone is committed to the goals set forth, along with our new safety protocols.

Email
All School Updates will be distributed through the Cougar Weekly to communicate important information and updates. Our team is working diligently to streamline all CCS communication for your convenience and ready reference. Please ensure that you are receiving the weekly emails as it is imperative that all families receive and review this information. If you are not receiving email, please email the communications office at communications@carmelchristian.org.

Principal and Head of School Updates will be provided regularly.

Cougar Community Covid-19 Webpage will be updated regularly with the latest information and updates.

Parent University and Parent Teacher Fellowship will be active methods of support throughout the school year.

Calendars
2021-22 Key Dates Calendar, Parent Calendar and Athletics Calendar

Questions?
Please direct all questions related to COVID-19 support to cougarsupport@carmelchristian.org.
This will ensure we can quickly and effectively answer your questions.

Please direct all health-related questions to our School Nurses at nurse@carmelchristian.org.

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RECENT UPDATES

Head of School News

November 4

August 24

August 3

July 21

Student Learning Modes

CCS will operate on campus as much as possible. Mindful of the on-going contingencies related to COVID-19 as well as potential for government mandates regarding school operation, we are also prepared to deliver disciple-making education to our students remotely.

COUGARS ON CAMPUS
Classroom Instruction On Campus
Regular School Schedule
Flexible Health & Safety Protocols
depending on the school’s health
environment and local community  health metrics.
INDIVIDUAL REMOTE LEARNING
Short Term Remote Learning for students required to stay home
due to a COVID-related health concern or
a REQUIRED quarantine period.
Regular School Schedule
Live (synchronous) Classroom Participation
COUGARS AT HOME
All Students in a class or
division or the entire school
learning at home.
Live (synchronous) remote instruction
Modified Instructional Schedule

Cougar on Campus is our target mode of operation this year.  All students will receive classroom instruction on campus on a regular school schedule.  

Regular School Schedule 

Kindergarten: 8:15 am – 1:15 pm
Grades 1 – 5: 8:15 am – 3:00 pm
Middle School: 8:00 am – 3:10pm
High School: 8:00 am – 3:15pm

Campus Health & Safety modifications and programming changes will be made as needed. Students and parents will be notified by email about programming changes (athletics, arts, off-campus programs) from the appropriate divisional leader.

Individual Remote Learning (2 weeks or less): 

Access to Short Term Remote Learning will be automatically granted if the CCS Health Room REQUIRES a student to stay home due to:

• A COVID-related health concern

• A REQUIRED quarantine period

PLEASE NOTE: When a student is ill, a sick day(s) should be taken. Students absent due to illness may receive make-up work from the class teacher in a manner consistent with the Attendance section of the Family Handbook.  

Based upon careful evaluation of the 2021-22 remote learning environment coupled with faculty and parent feedback, we have identified many challenges associated with frequent use of remote learning. Most notable are the significant impacts on student learning and engagement.  As a result of these findings, individual student access to remote learning will be significantly limited.

The student will be granted access to short term remote instruction according to the following timeline…

 

GRADES 3-12

• The following school day (if notified before 12:00 pm).

• The second school day (if notified after 12:00).

 

GRADES K-2

With the longer turnaround time for K-2, we will offer remote learning only if the required quarantine period extends beyond 5 school days.

 

Other requests for Short Term Remote Learning are discouraged and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Divisional Principals. 

Attendance will be taken to promote engagement and accountability.

Pathways will continue to provide student support virtually.

Chapel will be simulcast for viewing at home.

Participation in Athletics, Arts or other CCS in-person programming will be prohibited for those participating in remote learning.

Cougars at Home may be implemented if the school administration determines that community transmission in a particular class or division (ES, MS, HS) becomes prevalent. Cougars at Home may be implemented for the entire school if there is significant community spread of COVID or other infectious diseases (e.g., flu). In this mode, students designated for Cougars at Home remain at home and participate by using their school assigned Chromebooks. Attendance will be taken to promote engagement and accountability.


A shift to this mode does not change our mission of providing an excellent, disciple-making education for all CCS students. The Cougars at Home mode will provide a live (synchronous), remote educational experience on a modified schedule. Instruction will also include assignments that students may complete during the day on their own schedule. CCS will continue to use Google Classroom as our primary tool for student engagement, augmented by other online tools and resources to enhance the remote learning experience.

Cougars at Home will provide a live (synchronous), remote educational experience on a modified schedule as follows:  

Kindergarten: 8:15 a.m. – 1:00 pm (detailed schedules provided by classroom teachers)
Grades 1-5: 8:15 – 1:30 p.m. (detailed schedules provided by classroom teachers)
Middle School: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm (MS Cougars at Home schedule here)
High School: 8:00 am – 1:30 pm (HS Cougars at Home schedule here)

Pathways support sessions will be delivered virtually and scheduled to accommodate student schedules, collaborating with classroom teachers.

Specials and Arts Electives will continue in a virtual format.

Chapel will be simulcast weekly for viewing in small groups or classes.

Activities Beyond the Classroom will be adjusted to uphold the health & safety protocols during remote learning. Athletics guidance will be provided by the state association, NCISAA. Arts auditions, rehearsals and performances may move to a full virtual environment.

Extended Day and Enrichment will not be offered for students participating in Cougars at Home.

Campus Health & Safety

Campus Health & Safety precautions will be in place as we return to campus, mindful that these may change throughout the year based on campus health and community metrics.

Daily Symptom & Exposure Pre-Screening remains important to campus heath. We expect parents and students to stay home if they are not feeling well, have had COVID-19 like symptoms (including a fever) in the past 24 hours, or have had a positive COVID-19 test. Parents should consult with the nurse if they have questions or concerns. Please note: Lanyards will not indicate your health screening as they did in 2020-21. Lanyards will be utilized for the 2021-22 school year, but serve other purposes. 
Face Coverings are now required (effective, Thursday, August 26, 2021). Please see the full explanation under “Face Coverings” below.

Healthy Habits reinforced on campus including, but not limited to, maintaining adequate supply of hygiene products, training on essential hygiene practices including proper face covering usage (if required), washing hands, and using hand sanitizer (placed in strategic locations around campus).

Health Rooms will separate sick and well students.

Carmel Cafe will serve prepared boxed lunches. Shared food brought by students for birthdays or celebrations must be store bought and served by a staff member wearing gloves.

Sanitizing and Cleaning protocols, including disinfecting throughout the day in high-traffic areas and application of antimicrobial products (Protex) to heavy touch surfaces (e.g., door knobs, handrails). Protex is an invisible coating that prevents germs from living on surfaces and will be reapplied as needed.

HVAC Filters upgraded last year remain in use. These provide a denser filter that captures a larger number of particles and increases outside intake airflow, turning air more frequently.

Water Fountains are closed, but water bottle fillers are available.

Annual Health Forms required for all students.

ADDITIONAL MEASURES THAT WIL BE IMPLEMENTED IF NEEDED 

Group Gatherings in large on-campus venues may be adjusted to reduce occupancy and allow for greater physical distancing.

Classroom Space Modifications to promote distancing, including forward-facing desks and removal of ancillary furniture. Furniture may be rearranged to maximize space between desks.

Programs, Events and Activities may be modified to limit group sizes and promote distancing. Online platforms can be utilized for alternate delivery solutions.

Limited Campus Access for Non-Essential Guests. Campus visitors may be limited during the school day (no chapel or lunchroom guests). If necessary, some events may be modified or cancelled.

Carmel Cafe The cafeteria capacity can be reduced with fewer students per table to allow for physical distancing. Shared food, brought from outside sources, may be prohibited at times.

Elementary Recess can be adjusted so that students will not interact with other classes on the playground or during recess.

Each CCS Faculty, Staff, Student and Family MUST self-report if you or someone in your household:
• Has tested positive for COVID-19
• Develops symptoms of COVID-19

Refer to the COVID-19  Decision Tool to determine when you are excluded from campus for COVID-related indications. After submitting the COVID-19 Reporting Form, our Health Team will contact you as soon as possible, but not later than the following school day.  Click here to confidentially report your COVID-19 information to the Health Team. Carmel will contact trace in the event of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case in our community.

Face Coverings are required for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners proclamation applies to Carmel Baptist Church and its ministries. This means that effective Thursday, August 26, 2021 and as long as the order is in place CCS will require face coverings while indoors on our campus for:

• All guests at all times during the school day except while eating and drinking.

• Faculty, staff and students according to the Mecklenburg County masking requirements.

• All guests for after-school or evening events according to the Mecklenburg County masking requirements.

The K-12 Face Covering Protocols below do not apply to our campus guests. Please note that face coverings are required inside vehicles for school-organized field trips and athletic travel.

Thank you for your partnership to maintain a healthy and open campus.


Grade K-12 Face Covering Protocols:

• Face coverings are REQUIRED while INDOORS on campus except when eating or drinking.

• Consistent face covering “breaks” will take place throughout the day for students in ALL divisions.

• According to the proclamation, “face coverings do not need to be worn by someone who should not wear a face covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability.” Students who qualify under one of these exemptions should inform the school nurse at nurse@carmelchristian.org so the exemption can be processed.

We expect parents and students to stay home if they are not feeling well, have had COVID-19 like symptoms (including a fever) in the past 24 hours, or have had a positive COVID-19 test. Parents should consult with the nurse if they have questions or concerns. 

Please comply with the required “COVID-19 Reporting” requirements outlined above.

CCS QUARANTINE GUIDELINES: COVID-19

Our CCS School Nurses are committed to the continued health of all CCS students. All families should follow the standard protocols and guidelines for reporting student illnesses not related to COVID-19 located in the Health Room Policies and Procedures. It is important for families to communicate regularly with our school nurses concerning ALL illnesses and the accompanying return to school process. Please consult with the nurse prior to making arrangements with other administrators or faculty members. Nurse Nichols and Nurse Hendricks are eager to assist you throughout the school year.

If a student, faculty/staff member, or campus visitor becomes COVID-19 symptomatic during the school day or at any CCS event, the school and Nurses will follow the health and communication protocols below based upon CDC and local public health guidelines.

(Click on graphic to enlarge)