COVID-19 & Back to School

Dear TCA Parents,

We know you have been anxiously awaiting word regarding the upcoming school year and what it will look like in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you probably also know, it was only recently that Governor Lamont presented the guidelines for the public schools of our state. That information has allowed us to finish the “skeleton” of our strategy and plans for the 2020-21 school year. There is yet much meat to be added to the bones, but we wanted to provide the big picture to you at this point in the hope that it will answer your most pressing questions.

As you can imagine, TCA will look different this year than in previous years. Before laying out the major strategies for the upcoming year, however, we want you to know the goals behind the plan we have put together. While no plan will be perfect, here are the benchmarks we tried to achieve:

  • Protect the health of students and staff
  • Minimize anxiety and stress by creating as “normal” an environment as possible (while still protecting everyone’s health)
  • Procedures and protocols that were realistic and practical
  • A structure that will allow us to be flexible and adapt as restrictions resulting from COVID-19 are eased or added

With those goals in mind, here are the “bones” of the strategy with which we will begin the upcoming school year at TCA:

  • The first day of school will be Wednesday, September 2nd (school calendar coming soon!)
  • School will be in session every weekday (except, of course, scheduled days off)
  • The school day will still begin at 8:00am, but are returning to the 2:00pm dismissal time used for many years.
  • Social distancing
    • Our small class sizes, coupled with the size of our classrooms, will afford us the ability to space students the recommended distance apart in almost all cases
    • Classes will be self-contained as much as possible to minimize the interactions between grades and, therefore, allow for more effective response in the event any COVID-related situations
      • Students will eat lunch in their classroom each day
      • Classes will use only assigned restrooms (except in the case of emergencies, of course)
      • Restroom breaks, recess, and other activities will be scheduled to prevent multiple classes being in the same place at the same time
    • Face coverings (i.e. masks)
      • All students, except those in our Kiddie College program, will be required to have a mask with them each day; in the event a student forgets their mask, we will provide them with one
      • Students will be required to wear masks in the following situations:
        • When riding the bus to or from school
        • When entering the building at arrival time and exiting the building at dismissal time
        • When moving around in the school building for such activities as restroom breaks or going to lockers between classes (these activities will be as limited in scope as possible)
      • Students will not be required to wear masks in the following situations:
        • While in their assigned classroom
          • Students in elementary grades will have a designated place to put their mask upon arriving in the classroom each day (most likely a hook on the side or front of their desk); middle and high school students will keep their mask with them throughout the day
          • Students will only put their mask on when leaving the classroom or when working together on a class activity where they cannot be distanced adequately
        • While outside at recess or while in P.E. class
      • Teachers will be required to wear masks in the following situations:
        • When in the building, outside their classroom
        • When working one-on-one or close-up with students
        • When having a conversation or meeting with a parent inside or outside the classroom
      • Teachers will not be required to wear masks in the following situations:
        • While instructing students in the classroom, provided they are maintaining adequate distance between themselves and the students
        • When outside with students at recess or P.E.
      • Health & Safety
        • Hard surfaces in each classroom will be sanitized daily
        • Public areas (halls, restrooms, etc.) and multi-touch surfaces will be sanitized daily
        • Students are to bring their own water bottle to school each day, as drinking fountain use will not be permitted

There will be more detail forthcoming in the days ahead, but we hope this at least answers your biggest questions. Once again, please know that our heart is to provide a safe environment for your child, but also one that is as “normal” as possible, that minimizes anxieties, and that allows for effective learning to take place.

We are hopeful that the threat of COVID-19 will abate in the days ahead and that we will see the restrictions it has brought become more relaxed and even eliminated. Until that time, however, we will continue in our efforts to move forward in the face of such challenges.

We know that this information does not answer every question you or your child may have. We welcome your questions and concerns, as those will help to guide us in our planning, so feel free to contact us with those. We would also ask that you be patient as we continue to work out the detailed logistics and processes that will be a part of reopening TCA. As those details become clearer, we will pass that information on to you.

We are standing on the promise of Gods’ Word in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” We would ask that you pray for the wisdom of God to be ours as we continue working to ensure a great year ahead for your child!

Sincerely,

Pastor Clark Hausman, Head of School

Mrs. Dorothy Cernero, Assistant Principal