the last several months, recommendations on best practices for slowing the
spread of COVID-19 have changed and evolved from a variety of good sources. A
great deal of the concern comes from assembling large groups of students. We
have a great advantage with our small school.
Children spend so much time at school with their classmates. On school
days, they spend more awake time at school than at home.
CDC states, “One thing is clear, information
about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but the information
that is available suggests that children with confirmed COVID-19 generally had
mild symptoms. Person-to-person spread from or to children, as among adults, is
thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected
person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Recent studies indicate that people who
are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of
COVID-19.” We believe that a reasonable and safe approach will allow
us to return to school on Monday, August 31, as scheduled with all students
present. In order to further serve our
school families and the greater Saginaw Area, we are also offering a virtual
choice for 2nd-8th grades.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education
Association (NEA) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association agree that,
“that children learn best when physically present in the classroom. But
children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and
emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health
support and other services that cannot be easily replicated online.”
SickKids Hospital at the
University of Toronto (UT) states, “ it is
critical that we balance the risks of COVID-19 in children, which appear to be
minimal, with the harms of school closure which is impacting their physical and
mental health. It should be recognized that it will not be possible to remove
all risk of infection and disease now that SARS-CoV-2 is well established in
masks may reduce transmission from individuals who are shedding the virus.
However, the extent of this benefit is unknown (especially in children) and
would only be potentially beneficial if done properly. In fact, if worn
incorrectly, it could lead to increased risk of infection and it is not
practical for a child to wear a mask properly for the duration of a school day.
It is noteworthy that several European countries have had children successfully
return to school without face masks.”
So, with this
in mind, the following plan represents the mitigation strategies that Grace
Christian School will have in place for the beginning of the 2020-21 school
year. The plan is not exhaustive and does not address every detail of the
school day. Additionally, as the virus changes and the spread lessens or
becomes worse, or as the direction from the government mandates, this plan may
change. While we at school will be vigilant in our enforcement and ask for
complete cooperation from our students and families, there can be no guarantee
that the complete mitigation of risk will take place. The virus is not going
away any time soon. We choose to continue the important work of Christian
education in a place that recognizes the need for real precautions.