COVID-19 response: Updated April 15, 2020

Stethoscope

CSAGH leadership is issuing frequent communication to its families about COVID-19. The dates are in bold so you can easily see the updates in order from most recent.

April 15, 2020

Dear CSAGH Families:

Can you believe we are less than six weeks from the end of this academic year? Though we’re all missing the rhythms, routines, and events of these spring months at school, the budding trees, blooming flowers, and increased hours of daylight signal that summer is indeed coming.

I’m sure the governor’s announcement last week about the closure of schools for the rest of the academic year raised some new questions for you. Once again, my executive team and I have attempted to anticipate your questions and provide answers in the following FAQ.

All of the following FAQs are either updated or new from the last time you received them. I especially want to draw your attention to new information about a significant change to fourth quarter grading for every grade level. Additionally, we have created a Covid-19 webpage where we are updating FAQs. When you need to reference a response, you might find it easiest to look at https://www.csagh.org/hcs/education-continues-during-pandemic-response/).

I recently found encouragement in 1 Peter 5:9-11 – “Stand firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you.” Here was another time in human history when the world was “suffering;” Peter encourages believers to “stand firm in the faith” and reassures them that God Himself will bring restoration. Stand firm, restoration is forthcoming!

In His Service,


 Philip G. Puleo
Superintendent
Christian School Association of Greater Harrisburg

Frequently Asked Questions about School Closure 
 Updated: April 15, 2020

ACADEMICS/GENERAL

Does the governor’s closure of schools for the remainder of this academic year mean anything new to us?
 No. We still expect to finish May 22. Individual teachers may be in touch with you and your student about how they are handling various tests and projects in light of the extended closure.

How will students be assessed in the 4th quarter?
Questions naturally arise about effectively assessing students during a marking period complicated by online instruction. While our distance learning plan continues to focus on essential content to prepare students for grade advancement, we feel temporary adjustments to our grading system will be most reasonable under these unprecedented circumstances for teachers, parents, and students.

Elementary: All classes, including specials, will be graded on a Pass(P)/Fail (F) basis for the 4th marking period. Whether a student passes or fails the 4th marking period, a student’s FINAL  CLASS GRADE (year end) will be calculated as the average of the first three marking periods. If a class/category of assessment (i.e. conduct) was not continued through online instruction, a student will see an “E” (Exempted) on their report card for that course. Parents can still track their student’s percentage grade via RenWeb, but as noted above, a 65% or above will receive a P and a 64% or below will receive a F for the 4th marking period.

Middle School and High School: 

For all classes, including specials/electives that were added to our distance learning plan, middle and high school grades will continue to be calculated as outlined in our Student-Parent Handbook (see pg. 26-27), with two modifications. In an attempt to balance our academic standards with the unforeseen nature of our present circumstances, (1) MS/HS Final Exams will be cancelled and (2) no middle or high school student will receive less than a 50% for their 4th marking period grade. If a class was not continued through online instruction, a student will see an “E” (Exempted) on their report card for the fourth marking period and a final grade will be calculated using the existing grades from the first three marking periods in that course.

Parents and students still have the ability to track grades via RenWeb. In MS/HS courses especially, additional layers of complexity in calculating grades (i.e. weighting), can raise questions.  Please do not hesitate to contact your principal or guidance counselor to discuss a student’s grade calculation.

Will students progress to the next grade? 

It’s important to look at a child’s cumulative academic performance across all four marking periods and not just this final quarter. Because of the excellent distance education our teachers are providing in partnership with parents, we are confident that students will obtain the necessary skills and knowledge to progress to the next grade. Parents should consult with their child’s teacher(s) about any specific concerns they have about whether their student will be ready to advance to the next grade.

Will middle school and high school students be taking finals?

We are cancelling final exams. RenWeb will automatically calculate a student’s final grade in a course using the existing grades from the other marking periods and student’s midterm exam grades (high school only). Students can speak with their teachers if they have specific concerns regarding final exams.   As a result the cancellation of finals, course instruction will continue through May 22, 2020.

What is the status of AP exams?

The College Board has announced a truncated exam (now 45 minutes) that will be administered online at home. Principals have been in contact with AP teachers and students regarding their exam’s updated format and other administrative details.

How will I retrieve my students’ personal belongings from their classroom/locker?

We are awaiting additional guidance from government officials before we decide about when and how to allow students back on campus to collect their belongings and return textbooks, library books, and other school materials. We will communicate a plan as soon as we are able. Until further guidance is given, our buildings remain closed in accordance with the Governor’s orders.

Will there be other opportunities for seniors and/or students to say good-bye to their teachers, etc.?

As we plan the return of textbooks and commencement, we continue to be mindful of how important it is for students to bring closure to Academic Year 2019-2020. We intend to create these opportunities for closure, but we are still uncertain of what the future directives and guidance will be regarding schools and large group gatherings. We will continue to communicate with students and parents regarding end-of-the-year details as the situation becomes clearer.

EVENTS and SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

With schools closed through this academic year, which events and activities are cancelled?
 As result of schools being closed through the remainder of the academic year, the following activities have been cancelled:

  • Spring athletics*
  • Spring concerts
  • Final exams for middle and high schoolers
  • Field trips
  • MS/HS Day of Service
  • Musical productions**

*We acknowledge that many students—and especially our seniors—are deeply disappointed by the cancellation of the spring sports season. We will certainly be supportive of celebratory gatherings for teams should those opportunities be permitted in the near future. We are so thankful for our coaches continuing to support their student-athletes through this difficult time. 

**It is hard to express the acute disappointment we feel for the talented students and musicians who devoted countless hours of practice for their musical performances this spring. A separate email is forthcoming to the cast, crew, and ticketholders to give more clarity regarding the cancelled performances of The Sound of Music (HCS) and Beauty and the Beast (WSCA). WSCA and HCS’s musical leadership teams are standing by to plan smaller events that will bring closure to their shows while celebrating the hard work of the cast, crew, and production team.


What is postponed?
We hope to hold the following events at either a later date or in a different format. Stay tuned for further details.

· Kindergarten graduation

· Academic awards assembly

· WSCA Prom (currently rescheduled for Thursday, May 21)

· HCS Prom (currently working with venues to reschedule)

Will there be a Commencement ceremony?
 It is our intention to celebrate the Class of 2020 at the scheduled graduation ceremonies on May 30, but we must continue to be mindful of state and national guidelines regarding safe gatherings. It is our goal to hold an in-person Commencement ceremony, even if that means delaying the date until later in the summer. We commit to communicating a plan about Commencement in early May. 

FINANCIAL

What will happen to the money remaining on my child’s lunch account?
 If your child has a balance on their lunch account, the money will be applied as a payment to your tuition balance. If you do not have a tuition balance, the amount of money in the lunch account will be sent to you in a check.

What, if as a result of a change in my financial situation, my family is struggling to make tuition payments?
We anticipate that some families within our school communities are experiencing financial hardship as result of the widespread closures and disruptions to business. Our core value of “community” expresses that we care for one another, and one way CSAGH believes it can alleviate stress for families during this time is to suspend late fees on all FACTS accounts and honor 20/21 enrollment spots if a family is unable to pay their continuous enrollment fee by April 30. If the Coronavirus has created extenuating financial hardships that directly impact your child’s Christian school education, please reach out at [email protected]. That email will go directly to Superintendent Phil Puleo who will work with the appropriate people to determine how we might help.  All other normal financial account questions, including status of or questions related to financial aid, should be directed to the CSAGH Business Office.

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April 8, 2020

 

Grief and loss go together in Christian faith with vision and hope in a singular way, because they are the story of Cross and Resurrection. – March 20, 2020 Praxis article

It is Easter Week—the span of days between Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his crucifixion and resurrection—and we are all experiencing this holy week in new ways as a result of social distancing guidelines and group gathering restrictions that have closed our school campuses and church buildings. Maybe, like me, you’ve been processing disappointment with your family—cancelled athletic seasons, cancelled trips, an indefinitely postponed college graduation ceremony. Maybe you feel loss as you look ahead to an Easter Sunday without corporate worship and dinner with family and friends. Your family’s story might include a lost job or sick loved one. I’m coming to understand that  the sorrow we feel over the collective losses and disappointments impacting us and our families is actually a form ofgrief, a lamenting for the rhythms and routines that used to comprise our daily life. I believe grief is present in new ways for each of us this Easter season.

Jesus’ disciples, family, and friends knew grief acutely as they witnessed His brutal death on a cross reserved for common criminals. The women “mourned and wailed for him,” according to Luke 23:27. They were overwhelmed with disappointment, grief, and uncertainty, and, we can suspect that they felt helpless and hopeless.

Yet, just three days later, their feelings of despair would succumb to the hope of the resurrection when the tomb was found empty because Jesus was alive! Some of Jesus’ followers were initially confused or doubted his resurrection, but soon an overwhelming hope exceeded their expectations as they realized their beloved son, friend, and teacher, their long awai had conquered death.

Now, more than 2,000 years later, as we deal with the impact of COVID-19, we find ourselves at another time when it is difficult to be hopeful. The death toll climbs every day. Millions are unemployed. Financial markets vacillate. There is so much this spring that has been lost, and we grieve. But we do not grieve without hope.

Paul writes to the believers in Thessalonica—who thought that work was futile because the world was coming to an end (it may feel that way at times, right?)—that they “do not grieve like others  who have no hope” because “we believe that Jesus died and rose again” (1 Thes. 13 & 14). The Apostle Peter echoes these words when he writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)

Therefore, as we continue to navigate our homes, schools, and churches through this unusual time, may we do so in light of the truly unprecedented event of Christ’s death and resurrection. As we grieve losses and disappointments and as we battle anxiety and frustration, may we do so in the light of the living hope we celebrate this Easter. And, may the hope that sustains us also unite us. May it serve as a witness to our community that in unprecedented times it is the unprecedented grace of a risen savior that provides us with “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” (Great is Thy Faithfulness by Thomas Chisolm)

May God continue to bless our families and schools as we celebrate our living hope—together!

Happy Easter,

Philip G. Puleo, MBA Superintendent
Christian School Association of Greater Harrisburg

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March 26, 2020

RE:  Latest CSAGH COVID-19 Response FAQ

Dear CSAGH Community:

On Monday, I shared that Governor Tom Wolf extended the closure of Pennsylvania schools “at least through April 6th” in a continued effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.  As a result of the hard work and partnership of faculty and school families, our students’ education has continued despite the closure of Pennsylvania schools.  Yesterday, the School Principals communicated a series of modifications to our elementary distance learning methods.  Below are the most recent FAQ that seeks to keep our community informed of our continued response to COVID-19.  The FAQ contains information about continuity of education, Easter Recess, school events, and student activities.  Thank you for your continued prayers, support, and labor as we seek to partner together to continue to provide Christ-centered education that prepares our students.

In His Service,

Philip G. Puleo, MBA
Superintendent
Christian School Association of Greater Harrisburg

Frequently Asked Questions About School Closure and Distance Learning Model
Updated March 25, 2020 (3:30 PM)

We are doing our best to anticipate your questions. Because of the fluidity of this situation, we regret that we cannot definitively answer every question you likely have about the remainder of the school year. (We, too, would love to know how the next two months will unfold!) We promise to communicate often and honestly as we make decisions (or communicate decisions made by state and federal authorities) about the remainder of this academic year. Thank you for your patience and for your ongoing partnership in your child’s Christ-centered education. 

ACADEMICS

1.  Will students be able to complete the 2019-2020 academic year?

Yes. Because we were able to quickly implement our education continuity plan, we anticipate that students will complete the required credits and gain the expected knowledge and skills to advance to the 2020-21 academic year. Teachers are working to ensure that essential curricular objectives for each grade level are met so that students in all grades are prepared to progress to the next grade level in the fall.

2. Will seniors graduate? 

Yes, seniors are on track to complete their courses and obtain the necessary credits as planned as long as they complete the assignments being received in online education.

3. With the extended closure, is anything changing for elementary students?

Elementary families have received a letter from their school principal outlining changes to their distance learning model. Families will be tracking attendance and working in Seesaw now, in addition to continuing to utilize a combination of written materials and video resources.

4.  With the extended closure, is anything changing for middle school and high school students?

Our middle and high school teachers and students are off to a great start with their online learning. Classes will continue to utilize Microsoft Teams and students will continue to receive and complete assignments from each of their teachers. High school students will continue to have the opportunity to participate in a weekly video conference with each of their teachers. Principals have been and will continue to give direction to middle school students regarding video conferencing for them.

Starting the week of March 30, certain special/elective classes will be added to our current online curriculum. Principals and teachers will communicate further details regarding the addition of these special/elective classes. Additionally, middle and high school students can expect some of their classes to administer assessments next week. These assessments will vary and will be given in upper level, high school classes only at this time. Should our school closure be extended further, students can expect a variety of assessments in all their classes.

5. What is the status of our annual Terra Nova Standardized Assessment?

We will not be administering the annual Terra Nova Assessment in the 19-20 school year. We will continue to assess student achievement in a wide range of ways to ensure that students are meeting prescribed standards for their grade level.

6.  What is the status of Advanced Placement exams?

Principals are currently following the direction of the College Board as it relates to the administration of the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. To date, the College Board has announced a truncated exam (now 45 minutes) that will be administered online. The College Board intends to make an announcement regarding testing dates on April 2. Meanwhile, our students continue their preparation.

7.  Will MS and HS Students be taking course finals?

As of now, we hope to administer finals as scheduled. Of course, the administration of exams will depend on if and when school re-opens.

EVENTS and SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

8. What is the status of Easter Recess?

We need to modify our planned Easter Recess. The Governor has extended school closure through April 6. To address this potential restart, our upcoming Easter Recess, and a potential extended closure, our plan is to continue distance education on April 6 and 7. Then we would break for Easter from April 8-12. Students would return to classes on Monday, April 13. We will continue with this modified Easter Recess plan even if the governor extends school closures again.

9. What is the status of spring athletics?

We are closely following the communication of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), the governing body of PA high school sports. On March 23, they communicated “the start of spring sports is postponed another two weeks” and that “no date has been determined to re-start any sports activities at this time.”

10. Will there be a Commencement ceremony?

We certainly want to celebrate the graduating class of 2020 at the scheduled graduation ceremonies on May 30th, but we must be mindful of state and national guidelines regarding safe gatherings. If we need to postpone and reschedule the Commencement ceremonies, we will communicate that change with seniors and their families immediately.

11. What is the status of the HCS/WSCA musicals?

Unfortunately we still do not have a definitive answer about rescheduling the musicals because of restrictions related to group gatherings.

12. What is the status of the CSAGH Spring Concerts?

As of now, the concerts are still on the schedule but they are subject to two main factors: 1) Whether students return to in-classroom learning in time to learn the music in time for a performance; and 2) Whether there are restrictions on group gatherings at the time of the concerts.

13. What is the status the HCS Senior Missions Trip, the WSCA Senior Trip, and the WSCA Trip to Costa Rica?

The Harrisburg Christian School trip to the Dominican Republic has been rescheduled for July 6-11, 2020. The WSCA Senior Trip and cultural trip to Costa Rica are still under consideration and will largely be determined by directives from the hosting locations and travel agencies.

14. What is the status of school proms? 

The continuation of events such as the HCS Prom and the WSCA Jr./Sr. Prom will be determined, in part, by decisions made by both the governor and the location provider. We know this an important event for students and their families, and we will work to ensure it occurs as scheduled, when possible.

15. What is the status of the HCS/WSCA Day of Service?

As a result of restrictions of group gatherings of 10 or more and for the safety of the CSAGH community and our community at-large, the Day of Service as scheduled will be canceled.  CSAGH is currently planning an “at-home” Day of Service for our students to serve their families or a neighbor. Those dates will be communicated in the near future.

16What is the status of previously scheduled Open Houses?

As a result of CDC restrictions against group gatherings of 10 or more and for the safety of our staff and prospective students and families, the March Open House at WSCA was cancelled. Our April Open Houses (April 18 at HCS and April 30 at WSCA) remain scheduled as planned. Whether these events will be on campus or online via Zoom will depend on whether school closures are extended and/or restrictions on gatherings are in place.

Our admissions team—Mary Beth Gilge at WSCA and Jill Sunday at HCS—are continuing to provide educational consultations with prospective families through email, phone calls, and Zoom. We encourage you to continue directing your family and friends to reach out to them to learn more about exceptional Christ-centered education at our CSAGH schools.

17. What is the status of CSAGH Celebrate Fundraising Dinner?

As a result of CDC restrictions against group gatherings of 10 or more, we cancelled the CSAGH Celebrates – Fundraising Dinner, Student Showcase, and Live Auction scheduled for Saturday, April 25.   We will be in touch in the near future with a more formalized plan for the auction items we have secured and, perhaps, revised purposes for the monies we need to raise.

FINANCIAL

18. What, if as a result of a change in my financial situation, my family is struggling to make tuition payments?  

We anticipate that some families within our school communities are experiencing financial hardship as result of the widespread closures and disruptions to business. Our core value of “community” expresses that we care for one another, and one way CSAGH believes it can alleviate stress for families during this time is to suspend late fees on all FACTS accounts and honor 20/21 enrollment spots if a family is unable to pay their continuous enrollment fee by April 30. If the Coronavirus has created extenuating financial hardships that directly impact your child’s Christian school education, please reach out at [email protected]. That email will go directly to Superintendent Phil Puleo who will work with the appropriate people to determine how we might help.  All other normal financial account questions, including status of or questions related to financial aid, should be directed to the CSAGH Business Office.

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March 18, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions About School Closure and Distance Learning Model

1. Where can I find the most up-to-date information?
We will make every attempt to communicate directly via email and/or text message.

2. How long will CSAGH schools be closed?
All Pennsylvania public schools are closed by order of the Governor. At minimum, CSAGH schools are closed through Friday, March 27, 2020. The Governor will determine the date in which schools are permitted to reopen. We will communicate directly with families regarding our return date. Remember, HCS will plan to follow Central Dauphin School District and WSCA will plan to follow Cumberland Valley, Mechanicsburg, and West Shore School Districts when making a decision to return to school.

3. Are we required to make up any missed days?
The Governor has indicated that no school will be penalized for not meeting the minimum 180 required days for this school year. However, the goal of CSAGH is to provide a continuity of education to the best of our abilities. Therefore, we have elected to provide distance learning during the closure.

4. Will Spring Break continue as scheduled?
This is an unprecedented event, but as of now, it is our intention to have Spring Break as scheduled. One of the reasons we are providing distance learning is to try and keep our major calendar events intact.

5. What are instructional expectations during any closure?
As shared during our March 16, 2020, communication, middle school and high school students are expected to utilize Microsoft Teams to complete 20-30 minutes of work per class per day. Parents of elementary students are receiving instructional packets directly from their teachers via email. Work assigned will be collected and graded as part of the 4th Marking Period per the teacher’s instructions.

6. What if I don’t have access to the Internet or technology resources at home?
Please notify your principal ASAP if your student does not have access to internet or technology resources at home.

7. Will Jr./Sr. Prom continue as scheduled? Graduation? Any other school events?
The continuation of events such as Jr./Sr. Prom and graduation will be determined, in part, by decisions made by both the Governor and the location provider. We know these are incredibly important events for students and their families, and we will work to ensure they occur as scheduled, when possible. All events are cancelled through March 27, 2020.

8. Will there be a musical and/or spring sports season?
We are still in conversation with the Pollock Center regarding the postponement of the musical. We are making every effort to re-schedule our musical but you can imagine there are several logistical challenges combined with the uncertainty surrounding the present situation. We will be communicating with you as we have further updates.

The PIAA has not yet made a determination on the spring sports season. At this time, all PIAA sports, school sponsored clubs, and activities are postponed until further notice.

9. What extra cleaning precautions are we taking?
Members of our custodial staff will be in the buildings to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect our buildings.

10. What does the closure mean for AP exams?
CollegeBoard (administrator of AP Exams) has encouraged schools to try and keep on pace for administering the AP exams as scheduled. For now, we will make every attempt to stay on schedule.

11. Will you re-evaluate the situation before the students go back to school?
Yes, the Governor has stated that the closures statewide will be re-evaluated prior to being lifted. We as a District will also re-evaluate operations during that time.

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Governor Tom Wolf has announced that all K-12 schools in Pennsylvania will be closed for 10 business days due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Beginning Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27, Harrisburg Christian School and West Shore Christian Academy will be closed and will make the transition to “distance learning”.  It is important to note that neither school has any confirmed cases of COVID-19.

During this closure, in order to keep students’ academic skills sharp and to eliminate disruption of the educational process, students will have assigned schoolwork. Early next week, students will be given three “vacation days” while faculty and staff meet to implement our distance learning plan. More information will be sent via email early next week to thoroughly explain student, teacher, and parent expectations for schoolwork during the closure.

Because of the closure, we must also postpone all spring athletics effective immediately. We recognize that many students will process disappointment about the impact of COVID-19. As their administrators, teachers, coaches, and directors, we too are disappointed to postpone and cancel performances and activities. We love seeing our students develop their talents on the stage or playing field.

While students are off campus, we will continue to support a healthy and safe learning environment by actively taking steps to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 in our school. Cleaning crews will work diligently to clean and sanitize all school spaces. The administration will continue to monitor reports from the state and official government organization while working closely with local school districts and local health officials.

Please continue to pray for those that are currently facing exposure and illness throughout the world. As we partner together to work through the next couple of challenging weeks, we are reminded of Jesus’ hopeful words in  John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

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March 12, 2020

Dear CSAGH Community:

Since the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to cause concern in and around our community, we wanted to update you on our continued efforts to prepare for a potential disruption to our academic programs and/or extracurricular activities.

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions that help outline our prevention and preparedness efforts. Please carefully read through these questions for important information.

While we are hopeful that this virus does not continue to spread, we are also discussing measures such as canceling events or closing our schools in order to help minimize the spread of this virus. As of now, we do not intend to cancel any events, including our musical productions, or close our schools. The situation remains fluid, however, and for more information on our decision-making process regarding school closure, please see the FAQs below.

We continue to take the care and safety of our students very seriously. While children with healthy immune systems have almost no risk of long-term consequences should they contract COVID-19, our efforts are for those in our school and broader communities, including some of our students, parents, and grandparents, who have compromised immune systems. As we experience inconvenience surrounding the prevention of spreading COVID-19, it is important to remember these efforts are part of our duty to be a good neighbor and citizen.

The challenges associated with COVID-19 are likely to continue for some time. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and communicate with you as needed. At this time and always, we are so thankful God is our refuge and strength. We will trust Him for wisdom as we navigate these challenging days.

In His Service,


Philip G. Puleo, MBA
Superintendent
Christian School Association of Greater Harrisburg

FAQs

1.  How will CSAGH handle an outbreak of illness in our community and/or our schools?
While there is no easy answer to this question, especially because CSAGH operates across such a large geographical area, we will be working closely with local and state organizations regarding any decision to close WSCA and/or HCS. Local public school districts are assuring us that decisions regarding school closure  will be coordinated (similar to less serious “snow days”) by local school districts. Unlike snow days, these decisions will also be made in coordination with Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. As with snow cancellations, HCS will follow the lead of Central Dauphin School District and WSCA will follow the lead of Mechanicsburg, West Shore, and Cumberland Valley School Districts should a call need to be made to temporarily close school. Decisions to close HCS and/or WSCA will be made independently. 

CSAGH is continuing our preparation efforts for a potential disruption in our student experience. In the event school is temporarily closed, students would be given 2-3 vacation days while faculty reports for in-service days to prepare for distance instruction. Following those vacation days, we will be seeking to implement our plan for distance instruction. We have already moved into a testing phase where we are currently troubleshooting online instructional methods to determine the extent to which we are able to provide bona fide instruction if we were to temporarily close school. As you can imagine, this instruction would look different for our elementary students compared to our older students.

2. At what point might you take additional measures if needed?
If there were infections in our community, PA Department of Health authorities may recommend additional and specific measures to lessen the possibility of the spread of infection in our schools. This could include measures ranging from increased “social distancing,” such as limiting activities where large groups are closely gathered like assemblies or certain after school activities, to school closure.
3. Are you considering the cancellation of large-group activities, events, and field trips? 

At this point, we are monitoring large-group events and field trips in which our students are scheduled to host or participate. However, at this time, we have not cancelled any events. It is our intention to continue preparations for our musical productions, athletic competitions, and our trips to the Dominican Republic (HCS Seniors) and Costa Rica (WSCA cultural trip). Additionally, as a reminder, field trips are optional and at the discretion of parents/guardians as to whether they permit their children to attend.

4. What preventative cleaning measures is CSAGH taking to help minimize the spread of illness?
Our facilities and custodial crews have heightened daily cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout our buildings. Additionally, our teachers and staff are disinfecting the touched surfaces in and around their classrooms such as doorknobs and desks. On Friday, March 13, during faculty in-service, HCS will conduct a “deeper than normal” cleaning of the facility. On Friday, March 20, during faculty in-service, WSCA, in partnership with Bible Baptist Church, will conduct a “deeper than normal” cleaning of its facility.

Public school districts have directed their contractors to ensure their buses and vans are disinfected daily using EPA-approved solutions.

By the end of the school day tomorrow (WSCA) and early Monday morning (HCS), we will have spoken to all our students and staff to remind them about good hand hygiene and to cover coughs and sneezes. In our elementary schools, teachers have two regularly planned hand washing opportunities each day, including once before their lunches. In our middle school and high schools, we have extended lunch by a few minutes to allow us to provide those students with a regular planned opportunity for hand washing.

Finally, when possible, we will be encouraging students to sit further apart during classes and chapels.

5. Will my child be penalized for missing school due to illness?
No! We want our students to be at school. However, when they are sick, they should be at home. The same applies to our staff members. We need our staff to be healthy in order to care for our children, so they should stay home when they are sick. You are encouraged to reach out to your child’s healthcare provider if your child exhibits signs of illness. Additionally, please continue to follow our guidelines for discerning when to send your child back to school (fever-free for 24 hours, etc.).

6. Will absences be excused if a child is kept home for precautionary measures?
We, along with all public school districts, are required to follow Pennsylvania School Code, which defines excused and unexcused absences. Excused absences include, but are not limited to, illness, preapproved educational trips, and preapproved college visits. If you feel that your child has underlying health conditions that may necessitate keeping them home preventatively, we would ask that you reach out to your health care provider for documentation of this. If community spread of COVID-19 occurs in our region, we will reissue guidance regarding expectations for documentation of missed days due to illness that reflect that knowledge.
7. If my student has either been professionally diagnosed with COVID-19 or has had known exposure to the virus, what should I do?

Please notify your school principal and secretary as soon as possible. We will then be notifying our local public school district and the PA Department of Health.

8. If a student or staff member travels outside of the country, will CSAGH restrict their reentry into school?
All families who are intending to travel outside of the country before April 30th, should contact their principal out of courtsey to the school community. We will then work with families to determine the best course of action. Any student who travels to a country categorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having an elevated risk should follow guidance issued by the PA Department of Health regarding travel and self-quarantine. Staff members must also follow this same guidance.

Additional Resources

World Health Organization’s dedicated COVID-19 website
CDC’s dedicated COVID-19 website 
Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 website
Pennsylvania Department of Education’s dedicated COVID-19 website
Helpful Tips from the CDC to Prevent Spread of Illness

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March 6, 2020

Since the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference last week updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), there has been heightened awareness surrounding the spread of this disease and the potential disruption it could cause to educational institutions. We wanted to share with you how our school district is preparing for a potential disruption to our academic programs and/or extracurricular activities. Additionally, we are sharing some helpful resources with you if you are interested in staying current with the spread of COVID-19 and preventive efforts being made across the United States.

As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region. The number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions.

As has been our practice during the winter months, teachers are continuing to daily disinfect their classrooms. We are and will continue to encourage faculty, staff, and students who are feeling ill to stay home until they recover. We are and will continue to encourage good hygiene (e.g. washing hands thoroughly and coughing/sneezing into elbows, etc.). Thank you for your vital support of these efforts.

While we hope COVID-19 does not impact our school operations and student experiences, we are planning how to mitigate disruption if necessary. For instance, if we would ever need to temporarily close our campuses, we are exploring ways to use technology to provide continuity in student learning while still fulfilling the required instructional hours laid out by Pennsylvania’s Department of Education. We have been and will continue to be staying in close contact with local school districts, District 3, ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) and PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) to listen to their recommendations regarding their academic and athletic programs.

As we consider these recommendations and craft our own plans, it is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. We will follow (and encourage you to follow) any recommendations or directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations regarding this situation.

We are enclosing a few links with additional information regarding COVID-19 and recommendations from national and state agencies. We have also crafted a few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for you to review. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your principal with further questions or concerns.

As our world faces an uncertain future regarding the coronavirus, we can be so thankful we know a God who is in full control of His world. As we pray for the health of our world, we find such comfort in knowing God is still working out all things for His people’s good.

In Christ,

Philip G. Puleo, MBA
Superintendent
Christian School Association of Greater Harrisburg
Additional Resources

World Health Organization’s dedicated COVID-19 website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

CDC’s dedicated COVID-19 website: https://www.cdc.gov/nCoV 

Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated COVID-19 website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Pennsylvania Department of Education’s dedicated COVID-19 website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus%20Education.aspx

Helpful Tips from the CDC to Prevent Spread of Illness: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm

FAQ’s

 

What is Coronavirus?

It is a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in 37 locations internationally, including cases in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

In confirmed cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, depending on the age and health condition of the patient. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet)
  • Via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Source: CDC website

What does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend at this time?

While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

  • It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with sick people and stay home if you yourself are sick.

Source: CDC website

Are CSAGH students and faculty planning to travel aboard in the near future? Is COVID-19 a consideration in these plans?

Yes, our students and faculty are continuing to move forward with their plans to travel to the Dominican Republic (Grade 12, HCS) and Costa Rica (Language/Cultural Trip for WSCA HS Students). We are following all the recommendations for traveling to these two locations and so far no plan has been made to cancel or postpone either trip. We will continue to follow the recommendations and directives regarding travel to these two countries and directly communicate to the travelers if their itineraries will be affected at all by the spread of COVID-19.

Our international students have no plans to travel to their home countries before the end of the school year. We are in conversation with our international students to be available to assist them as they weigh their options about returning to their countries over the summer. Please pray for our international students, most of whom have family and friends from areas that to date have been much more affected by this illness than the United States.

How/when will decisions be made about pending/future school-related activities? How will those decisions be communicated?

CSAGH will continue to closely monitor the progression of Coronavirus in compliance with CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, and make plans for our school operations accordingly. We will also be communicating with local school districts, District 3, and the PIAA to ensure any CSAGH decision is coordinated with these other organizations. In the unlikely event a decision has to be made to temporarily close school or cancel extracurricular activities, Mr. Puleo, CSAGH’s Superintendent, will be directly communicating with our community via email. If needed, we will use text alerts and email to communicate in any emergency or time-sensitive situations.

What happens if a CSAGH Family travels to and from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Country?  

CSAGH families should consult and follow the CDC’s Travel Health Notices (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices) given for international travel to  Level 2 (i.e. Japan) and Level 3 countries (i.e. China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran). Please note that current Level 3 travel includes the following precaution: “Travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning to the United States and practice social distancing.”